BY NATASHA BARSOTTI –
A global queer rights campaign is reporting that Ukraine's parliament has cancelled a scheduled vote on a bill that would forbid its citizens from speaking out favourably about gays or lesbians.
Allout.org says the last-minute cancellation of the vote is a "crucial victory" for opponents of the legislation, which could have had a chilling effect on freedom of speech and expression. It says the move means there is limited opportunity to bring it back for consideration before the dissolution of the sitting parliament.
Draft law 8711 would make it illegal to "spread homosexuality" by "holding meetings, parades, actions, demonstrations and mass events aiming at intentional distribution of any positive information about homosexuality." Flouting the law would incur fines and up to five years of jail time. Fines and prison time would apply to journalists who publish favourable articles about gay people, anyone featuring lesbian characters on TV, or teachers who publicly support human rights for gay people in the classroom.
"More than 120,000 All Out members spoke out against this horrible legislation and pushed it to the top of Europe's diplomatic agenda," Andre Banks, co-founder and executive director of All Out, said in a statement. "Together we are sending a strong message to the other governments of Eastern Europe. Support for anti-gay laws embolden extremists at the expense of lucrative European ambitions."
Landing image source: queerlandia.com