Ukraine might ban talking about homosexuality

Ukraine's location in Europe
Ukraine’s location in Europe

The parliament in Ukraine is moving forward with consideration of bills that would ban public discussions of homosexuality.

The Kyiv Post reported that the proposals, Bills 8711 and 10290, were recently accepted for a first reading in the Ukraine parliament.

In a commentary in the Kyiv Post, Jed Sunden said about the bills:

They enshrine discrimination against homosexuals into law in Ukraine. Even more worrying, the legislation provides for criminal offenses for anyone who is convicted of “propagandizing” homosexuality. The scope of this bill is unprecedented and clearly if the government can start arresting homosexuals for exercising their rights to free speech, it would limit the freedom of all Ukrainians.

Boris Dittrich
Boris Dittrich

“The members of parliament who took the initiative to submit these bills claim they are doing so to protect minors and stop the spread of HIV,” Boris Dittrich, LGBT advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, stated in a column in the Huffington Post.

His group spoke against one of the proposals when it was under consideration last year, stating that “The bill would deprive everyone in Ukraine of access to essential information to decide about their lives and protect their health. The supporters of this bill are not protecting adults or children from harm, as they claim, but rather condemning Ukrainians to ignorance, danger, and fear.”

The proposals are part of an ongoing effort to prohibit “gay propaganda” in Eastern Europe, most prominently in St. Petersburg, Russia, which passed a law in early March banning activities that would promote gay culture among minors.

Similar suggestions are being considered by the Russian parliament, by the city of Moscow, and in Moldova, Lithuania and Hungary.

Such bans are already in effect in the Ryanzan region southeast of Moscow (adopted in 2006), the Arkhangelsk region northeast of St. Petersburg (adopted last September), the Kostroma region northeast of Moscow (adopted in December)  and in Siberia (adopted in April).  Bans have also been enacted in three cities in Moldova.

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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