Tomorrow the Ukrainian parliament may consider — and give its final approval — to a bill to ban “gay propaganda,” which includes any positive depiction of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
If passed, it would apply to any statement that being gay is acceptable, whether that appears in a newspaper editorial, in a speech, at a pride parade or a film such as “Brokeback Mountain,” the bill’s backers say. It might also prohibit public displays of kissing, hand-holding and other public displays of affection by single-sex couples.
The bill, if passed by parliament and signed by Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych, would impose fines on first-time offenders and provide up to five years in prison for repeat offenders.
The bill is strongly opposed by human rights groups. Officials at the European Parliament not only oppose it, but also say that a recent relaxation of visa requirements between Ukraine and European Union countries could be reversed if the bill is enacted.
The bill received its first parliamentary approval on Oct. 2 and was scheduled for a second and final vote Sept. 16. It has broad support in Ukraine, with politicians apparently eager to demonstrate that they are anti-gay, especially in the weeks leading up to parliamentary elections on Oct. 28.
All major political parties are united in support, and polls indicate that many Ukrainians support some restrictions on the rights of sexual minorities.
One of the legislation’s incubators is the Christian Hope evangelical church in Kiev. Located in a nondescript five-story structure outside the city centre, Christian Hope provides a wide array of educational and charity services, and has established a network of some 150 churches throughout Ukraine. It has also helped collect thousands of signatures in support of three anti-gay bills put forward in parliament this year.
The Ukraine proposal is one of many attempts in eastern Europe to squelch positive discussions of homosexuality. Several Russian regions have done so. The most prominent of them is St. Petersburg, where the singer Madonna faces legal action for allegedly violating the ban in remarks she made during a concert there in August.
- Europe may punish Ukraine for gay censorship law (Gay Star News)
- Ukraine votes for ‘anti-gay propaganda’ bill (76crimes.com)
- Protest greets Ukraine plan for Oct. 2 ‘gay propaganda’ vote (76crimes.com)
- Join AllOut.org in Stopping the “Gay Gag Rule” (queerd.com)
- Ukraine lawmakers give preliminary approval to gay propaganda ban (jurist.org)
- Ukraine takes aim against ‘gay propaganda’ (BBC News)
- 17 arrests in protests against Russian ‘gay propaganda’ law (76crimes.com)
- Efforts to ban ‘gay propaganda’ spread in Europe (76crimes.com)