The Ukraine Parliament has voted massively in favor of a new law which would ban ‘propaganda’ about homosexuality.
Within the last hour 289 deputies voted for bill 8711, nobody voted against and just one abstained. Another 60 deputies were absent from the chamber.
The vote today (2 October) had only been announced yesterday, giving LGBT rights campaigners little time to organize against it.
Despite that 20 community activists and campaigners representing various organizations and initiatives gathered to protest against the proposed law.
They urged members of parliaments to reject it, saying it is against human rights. Police attended to protect the protestors.
Olena Shevchenko, of Insight organization, is at the forefront of the campaign to stop the homophobic law.
She told Gay Star News: ‘It is quite serious. It is not just about LGBT rights. It can be about anything, because it is just censorship.
‘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 on the street with your partner and someone could complain to say that is propaganda.’
It introduces administrative and criminal liability for the importing, manufacturing and distributing products that ‘promote’ homosexuality.
Campaigners say it will censor the media, civil society activists and human rights defenders.
A second vote is now scheduled for 16 October, although it may be delayed. If that goes the same way, the bill will be signed by the chair of parliament and the president and become law.
The law is similar to that passed in St Petersburg in Russia earlier this year, which sparked international condemnation.
It has been condemned by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the UN Office in Ukraine, the European Parliament and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
Now the activists in the Ukraine want the European Union (EU) and Council of Europe to intervene to stop it going through. Ukraine is a member of the Council of Europe but not the EU.