Action Alert: Ukraine to ban word “gay”

Pro-gay protesters at the Ukrainian Parliament
(Photo: Insight NGO)

They’re planning to ban any public mention of the word “gay” in Ukraine, as they recently did in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The new law threatens media, civil society groups, human rights groups, anyone who dares to do anything that is seen as gay “propaganda.”

Olena Shevchenko, of the Ukrainian NGO, Insight, reports that the Ukrainian Parliament today passed the bill:

15 minutes ago Ukrainian Parliament pass the bill 8711 (on prohibition of propaganda of homosexuallity). 289 deputies voted PRO. It means this bill approved in first reading and will be sheduled on second voting in the nearest time. That we can do: Ask all EU and CoE institutions to contact Ukrainian Ministry of International affairs and Embassy’s of Ukraine in different countries regarding this law. Here is contacts of Ministry of International affairs.

More from Shevchenko on the background of the legislationo:

Today, October 2, 2012, public protest in front of Ukrainian Parliament took place against bill number 8711, which has the unofficial name “Law banning propaganda of homosexuality”, which carries a number of discriminatory provisions. About 20 community activists and activists representing various organizations and initiatives urged MPs to reject odious bill in first reading, because of its contrary to the concept of human rights.

This bill is aim to introduce administrative and criminal liability for the importation, manufacture and distribution of products that “promoting” homosexuality. Because the document does not define the concept of “propaganda”, it leaves a space for interpretation, its aimed to sencor the media, civil society activists and human rights defenders. This bill formally establishes censorship.

The Russian city of St. Petersburg passed a similar law earlier this year, and of course the law tied gays to pedophiles. It’s a law that Madonna famously flaunted during her recent concert in the city.

To give you a sense of how draconian these “don’t say gay” laws are, a man was arrested in St. Petersburg for simply wearing rainbow suspenders (the rainbow long ago became a symbol of gay rights). Another was convicted of simply holding a sign mentioning “gays.”

Russia, long a hotbed of anti-semitism, has also seen a great deal of homophobia and outright violence against gays increase in the past several years. The city of Moscow, for example, recently banned “Gay Pride” celebrations for the next 100 years. And Russian police famously arrested and beat Gay Pride prosters in Moscow last year, including American “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” activist Dan Choi.

It always saddens me to see countries that escaped the clutches of Soviet communism to then act like the very thugs they replaced.  And many probably are the very same thugs in fact.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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