The decision by a city in Moldova to ban 'homosexual propaganda' has been branded 'shameful' by gay rights campaigners.
Balti's City Council yesterday announced it would prohibit 'aggressive propaganda of non-traditional sexual orientations', after 23 out of 35 members voted in favor of the law.
The legislation effectively bans public discussion of LGBT issues and was originally proposed by the Communist Party, which has the most representatives in the Council.
Moldovan gay rights group, GENDERDOC-M, have condemned the decision as unconstitutional, calling it 'shameful and absurd'.
A spokesman for the group says there has been an increase in hate speeches and violence against gay people and the law comes amid growing political instability in the country.
'The hysteria and rush around the issues of LGBT people’s rights and adoption of the anti-discrimination legislation are generated by the pre-election race and discord among competing political forces,' the spokesman said.
'The LGBT community has become a scapegoat in political games chosen because of their marginalized social status in the Republic of Moldova.'
GENDERDOC-M says the law not only breaches Moldova's constitution, but contrvenes the European Convention on Human Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association – Europe (ILGA Europe) – say they will support GENDERDOC-M's actions and is deeply concerned about this development in Moldova.
A spokesman for the group said: 'ILGA Europe calls upon European institutions to hold Moldova to account and address this breach of the rights of LGBT people to freedom of expression, and to publicly condemn such legislative developments in Moldova.'
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Moldova has become increasingly under the influence of the Orthodox Christian church and the new law appears to reflect that, stating the decision was made 'considering the particular importance and historic role of the Moldovan Orthodox Church'
Attempts to hold a pride parade in Chisinau have frequently been blocked or obstructed, with the mayor of the city banning it several times.
A similar law also looks set to be past in the Russian city of St Petersburg.
The proposals have attracted widespread criticism, including diplomatic pressure from the US State Department and Europe, a large-scale digital petition and a European Parliament resolution against them.