The Ukraine parliament today approved an “anti-gay propaganda” bill by a near-unanimous vote.
The bill was passed 289-0, with one abstention and 60 deputies absent.
If enacted, the bill would ban the import, manufacture or distribution of products that promote homosexuality and the use of media, TV or radio
broadcasting for homosexual “propaganda.” The bill calls for fines or a prison sentences of up to five years for violations.
It was not immediately clear whether it would be as broad-ranging as this year’s new law in St. Petersburg, Russia, that has been used against even general discussions of homosexuality in the presence of minors. The Ukraine bill is labeled as a proposal aimed at “protection of children’s rights in the safe information sphere.”
“It is not clear what is counted as ‘propaganda’ under the proposed law. It could be an interview in the media or a protest. Or you could just be out on the street with your partner and someone could complain to say that is propaganda,” Olena Shevchenko of the Ukrainian human rights group Insight told Gay Star News.
The bill is scheduled for a second vote on Oct. 16 before it would be signed by Volodymyr Lytvyn, chairman of the Ukraine parliament; by Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych; and then become law.
About 20 gay rights activists protested outside the parliament against the proposal, which was scheduled for a vote only the day before.
Shevchenko said the bill has several discriminatory provisions.
“Because the document does not define the concept of ‘propaganda,’ it leaves room for interpretation,” she said. “It is aimed at censoring the media, civil society activists and human rights defenders.”
In a letter opposing the bill, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said, “By restricting the publication and dissemination of materials related to sexual orientation and gender identity, this bill would severely restrict access to information about health, support networks, and social activities for countless young people.”
Activists said they will ask the Council of Europe to intervene to stop the bill.
- Ukraine votes for anti-gay propaganda law (Gay Star News)
- Protest greets Ukraine plan for Oct. 2 ‘gay propaganda’ vote (76crimes.com)
- Russia – anti-gay, anti-Madonna, anti-pride hotbed (76crimes.com)
- Madonna vs. ‘gay propaganda’ law (76crimes.com)
- Anti-gay Russian activists sue Madonna for $10 million (madonnalicious.typepad.com)