BY DANIELA COSTA – Ukraine’s parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favour of a new law that would ban “propaganda about homosexuality.”
The bill outlines prison terms of up to five years for those convicted of spreading propaganda that publicly depicts gay people and homosexuality in a positive light.
Parliament announced the vote a day before it took place on Oct 2.
Gay Star News reports that 289 deputies voted for the proposed law, titled bill 8711. No one voted against it and only one abstained from the vote. Sixty deputies were absent.
Parliament will vote on the bill again on Oct 16.
If the result is the same, the chair of parliament and the president will sign the bill and it will become law.
According to the Associated Press, President Viktor Yanukovych has refused to say whether he will sign the bill into law.
Pink News reports that Lance Price, executive director of the international gay rights organization Kaleidoscope Trust, has written an open letter to the chair of Ukraine’s parliament, Volodymyr Lytvyn.
The law would introduce administrative and criminal liability for the manufacturing, importation and distribution of products “promoting” homosexuality.
Price warns that the bill could “severely restrict access to information about health, support networks and social activities for countless young people.”
He also writes that the bill’s implementation would be in breach of international law.
Price cites Articles 10 and 14 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights, as well as Protocol 12, which includes a provision against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
Human rights groups have pointed out that the bill is a throwback to Soviet times, when homosexuality was a criminal offence.
Gay rights group allout.org created an online petition to “Stop the gay gag rule in Ukraine.”
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