The Ukrainian parliament has cancelled a scheduled vote on legislation that would ban any Ukrainian citizen from speaking out favourably about gays or lesbians, the petition website AllOUt.org said today.
It said the move to shelve the bill, Draft Law 8711, today is seen as a critical victory for its opponents, leaving only a short window in September for it to be reconsidered before the dissolution of the sitting Parliament.
Draft law 8711 would make discussing gay rights positively in the media or at events a criminal offence.
Andre Banks, co-founder and executive director of AllOut.org said: “More than 120,000 All Out members spoke out against this horrendous legislation and pushed it to the top of Europe’s diplomatic agenda.
“The message of our growing global movement is simple – everyone should be able to live openly and love who they choose. That call has been echoed by the European diplomatic community who played a critical role in blocking the progress of the gay gag law.
“Above all, this is a victory for our partners in Ukraine. Together we are sending a strong message to the other governments of Eastern Europe. Support for anti-gay laws embolden extremists at the expense of lucrative European ambitions.”
Yesterday, AllOut.org delivered its petition with 120,000 signatures to Ukrainian authorities at the European Union and Council of Europe.
It added that thousands of All Out members made direct phone calls to their Foreign Office pushing for action against Law 8711.
Law 8711 would make it illegal to ‘spread homosexuality’ by ‘holding meetings, parades, actions, demonstrations and mass events aiming at intentional distribution of any positive information about homosexuality’ and imposes penalties of fines and up to five years imprisonment.
Writing in the Guardian after appearing at an AIDS benefit concert in Kiev, the musician said Ukraine had “waited so long for its own freedom”, but was now threatening the freedoms of gay people to take part in a parade or openly discuss homosexuality.
Human rights activists in Ukraine have this week noted: “The authorities are increasingly worried about the so-called decline of morality in society, but (the anti-gay law) only diverts attention from pressing problems of social insecurity of the population of Ukraine. Instead of solving real problems they trying to find a “common enemy” in the state”.