Latvia’s gay community has narrowly avoided a law which would have banned all mention of homosexuality in the mass media.

The Latvian Parliament yesterday rejected a bill proposed by the Latvia First Party aiming to protect the “family institution.”

A party statement said the law should ensure the media do “not weaken the role of the family institution, do not split society, and do not create a misconception about a group of individuals claiming special treatment due to their beliefs.”

The rejection comes after gay groups urged the country to uphold its commitment to human rights after the Riga Gay Pride march was banned on public order grounds last July.

The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, called the decision to ban Latvia’s Gay Pride “an unacceptable attack on human rights.”

His words have been echoed by gay rights group Outrage, Amnesty International and the Latvian President, Vike-Freiberga.

Last June, the European Union passed a resolution to combat homophobia on the continent which would see sentences handed down for homophobic, anti Semitic, and Islamophobic offences.