Ukraine prohibits ‘gay propaganda’

The Ukrainian parliament jumped on the bandwagon of anti-homosexuality laws on 2 October preliminarily approving a bill to ban the positive depiction of homosexuality.

The drafted law, approved in the first reading, criminalises the “propaganda of homosexuality” by introducing a number of amendments to existing legislation and permits charges of up to 5 years in prison and hefty fines.

“By passing such provisions the Ukrainian authorities both encourage discrimination and limit freedom of speech – unacceptable by European and international standards,” said Joanna Kurosz, Eastern Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Civil Rights Defenders.

“Unfortunately, this is a recent, growing tendency in the region, which shows no respect for basic human rights from the authorities and further promotes social exclusion and stigmatisation of the LGBT community.”

The bill follows a trend of anti-LGBT legislative efforts of this nature that recently swept across Eastern and Central Europe and further enforces the worrisome discriminatory sentiment in these countries´ political rhetoric. In Ukraine, only one deputy out of 350 voted against the bill while another 60 were absent from the chamber.

The Russian Federation was the first to adopt “gay propaganda” laws in the Ryazan oblast last year. The action was followed by similar provisions in four other municipal regions in Russia and discussions of “gay propaganda” laws in Moldova, Lithuania, Hungary and Latvia.

While anti-LGBT bills were rejected in Lithuania, policy efforts still remain a part of the political agenda in the other countries, with a growing number of municipalities adapting anti-homosexuality propaganda laws.

Despite receiving robust criticism from the European and international communities, the bill’s sponsors claim that “gay propaganda” will lead to the spread of HIV and AIDS in Ukraine, diminish the traditional family values and harm the mental state of minors, Russian and international media report.

Many critics of the draft legislation have likened Russia´s and Ukraine´s “gay propaganda” laws to those in the Soviet Union, where homosexuality was criminalised all along.

The bill is scheduled for a second reading on 16 October. If approved, it would require President Viktor Yanukovich´s signature to become law. Yanukovich has declined comment to local and international media about his stance on the matter.

Categories: News.
Tags: LGBT and Propaganda laws.
Regions: Eastern Europe.