Ukraine’s foreign minister Leonid Kozhara stated that a law prohibiting discrimination against gays will be adopted soon, in order to speed up visa entry harmonization with the European Union.
During an interview with the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, Kozhara stated yesterday (7 February): ‘The issue of homosexuals is now generating strong controversy in Ukraine, but our government has already prepared a draft law and will soon submit it to the parliament…
‘Without a law that prohibits discrimination against gays, we cannot move on the road to abolition of visas. I think that the will to further integration with the European Union outweighs the resistance, and the law will be passed’.
According to Kozhara one of the European Union’s conditions for liberalization of visas for Ukrainian nationals is the introduction of a new law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in the Ukrainian Labor Code.
At the same time, the Minister said that there are opponents of adoption of this anti-discrimination law in Ukraine, particularly the Orthodox Church.
However, according to Kozhara, such laws were adopted in Moldova despite being socially controversial, and in Poland, where the Catholic Church raised strong objections.
In connection with this, he believes that the law prohibiting discrimination against homosexuals will be approved.
Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers intends to submit all the draft laws that are necessary for implementation of the first phase (the legislative phase) of the action plan on liberalization of the European Union’s visas for Ukrainian citizens to the parliament for consideration before the end of next week (18 February).
On 2 October, 2012 Ukraine’s parliament approved the first reading of the draft law No. 8711, nicknamed ‘anti-homosexual propaganda’, that would make it illegal to talk about homosexuality in public and the media (with penalties of up to five years in prison and fines for up to 5,000 Ukrainian hryvnia (â‚¬ 460 US$ 616)
Following strong international condemnation and calls on Ukraine not to adopt the ‘anti-homosexual propaganda’ draft law, the bill has been stalled.