Ukraine Parliament approves law against homosexuality in first reading

The Parliament of Ukraine adopted a new draft law, which would ban ‘propaganda of homosexuality’. On October 2, 2012, 289 MPs voted in favour of the draft law 8711.

Olena Shevchenko from Insight NGO said about the homophobic law: “It is not just about LGBT rights. It can be about anything. 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 in the street with your partner and someone could complain it is propaganda.”

Human rights defenders say the law will censor the media and civil society activists.

The draft law suggests amending several laws and the Criminal Code of Ukraine to forbid “propaganda of homosexuality” and introduces administrative and criminal liability for the importing, manufacturing and distributing products that ‘promote’ homosexuality.

According to the draft law, import of goods that “promote the cult of violence and cruelty and homosexuality” to Ukraine will be punished by a fine (up to 320 USD), up to 6 months of arrest or up to 3 years of limitation of freedom. Import of video or movies with propaganda of homosexuality to Ukraine can lead to a fine of up to 640 USD or up to 5 years of limitation of freedom with confiscation.

The second vote on the draft law 8711 could appear in a schedule of a Parliamentary session on 16 October 2012, although it may be delayed.

Ukrainian human rights defenders hope the law will be condemned by International NGOs, UN, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and other organizations. Activists call on the international community to intervene to stop it going through.

The law is similar to that passed in St Petersburg, Russia, earlier this year, which sparked international condemnation.