The Alliance for European Integration (AIE) is attempting to pass an anti-discrimination bill in Moldova, where the Council in the country’s third city, Balti, have adopted an ordinance banning the “propagandising” of homosexuality.

But they are up against the objections of a most unexpected alliance – that between the conservative Orthodox Church and the opposition Communist Party.

Both parties are working hard to convince Moldovans that the bill – along with the government’s 2011 registration of the country’s tiny Muslim minority as a state-recognised religion – would mean an unbridled “Islamisation and homosexualization” of Moldova.

Alexandr Poneatovski, a Communist lawmaker in Balti’s council, said: “That’s just the way I was brought up – those are my morals. I simply do not recognise these people as members of any sort of normal society.”

Balti is one of at least three Moldovan municipalities to pass such laws, which are mainly aimed at preventing gay pride parades and are similar to the law adopted by St. Petersburg, Russia, last month and to nationwide legislation now pending in the Russian State Duma.

Moldovan lawmakers have denied that they are following Russia’s lead on the subject, but Moldova’s Communist Party has close ties with Russia’s ruling United Russia party.

Angela Frolov, head of the GenderDoc-M gay rights group in Chisinau, the capital, said she sees a definite connection between Russia and the developments in her country:¬†“The [Moldovan] Communists have strong ties with the Russian Federation, and they follow its example . . . They saw that such a measure worked [in St. Petersburg] so they decided to use the same tactics here.”

In recent weeks, Balti and other Moldovan cities have seen a surfeit of leaflets decrying the proposed equality legislation and warning of the dire consequences of its potential adoption.

One flyer said: “The law on non-discrimination acknowledges the dictatorship of homosexualism over normalcy and gives [pederasts] more rights than other people,”

It continues: “Any homosexual will be able to practice deviance in PUBLIC places, even in front of our children.¬†Pederasts will have every right to teach in kindergartens, schools, and universities about how ‘fine and normal’ it is to be homosexual.”

It also claims that as Moldova was once part of the Ottoman Empire, Muslims believe the country must be officially converted to Islam and that Christians will be considered “pagans” and beheaded. It is not known who is behind the leafleting, but the government has said it suspects the Orthodox Church.