Kyrgyzstan’s bill to ban ‘gay propaganda’, described as even worse than Russia’s, will become law.
Lawmakers in the ex-Soviet state voted overwhelmingly in favor of the law in the most important vote, the second reading of the bill, today (24 June).
The bill was passed with 90 MPs voting in favor and only two voting against.
A third and final reading of the law is expected in October.
Gay rights activists in Kyrgyzstan have said how local press are being banned from committee meetings, and how there is huge pressure by other politicians to get the bill passed as soon as possible.
Dastan Kasmamytov, a gay rights activist in the country, told Gay Star News: ‘If someone votes against this bill, that means he’s gay. If someone is seen supporting gay rights, that means they support the "gay agenda" or is against "traditional values".
‘No lawmaker will vote against it because of the pressure. But we will see.’
The bill, similar to Russia’s own anti-gay law, will make it illegal to spread information about ‘non-traditional sexual relations’ in the former Soviet country.
Unlike Russia, which only fines the ‘guilty’, Kyrgyzstan will punish people who ‘propagate homosexual relations’ by up to one year in jail.
But that doesn’t mean LGBTI people won’t be fined. The fines included in the bill are equivalent to more than half of the Kyrgyz average monthly salary.
Journalists will also be ‘held accountable’ if they are found guilty of disobeying the law.
LGBTI groups will also be banned under the legislation.
The European Union has described the draft law has one of the most ‘sweeping anti-propaganda bills ever published’.
Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, Vice-President of the LGBT Intergoup, said: ‘It is unacceptable that people might again be put in jail for being who they are, or even for sharing objective information about different sexual orientations.’
‘We urge Kyrgyz law makers not to follow the example of countries like Russia or Uganda, and take their country back to the stone age, but rather join the growing number of European countries where all citizens are equal, free and safe.’