Pop stars and footballers are among the celebrities in Ukraine backing a new campaign that promotes “traditional love.”
“The number of anti-gay public movements, similar to the one headed by Ruslan Kukharchuk, Love Against Homosexuality, is growing in Ukraine,” according to the Ukrainian Gay Forum.
Hundreds of people have already signed up to the online Love Against Homosexuality campaign and gay rights advocates are concerned at some of those who have spoken out.
Local pop star Oksamita has voiced her support.
“My husband Andrey and I are happy parents of our daughter Melaniya-Mirrha,” she said.
“With her every smile, every single day I become more and more convinced of the fact that the family is a miracle, gift, happiness and great value.
“When someone is trying to encroach on this happiness I can’t be silent.
“I think that homosexuality is a threat to modern society, infringement on the wellness and happiness of my country. It is hard to watch with indifference on somebody’s attempts to demolish the family – a basis of a healthy and blooming state.
“And the patriots of Ukraine, those people who love my country won’t respect such a threat.”
Dmitry Gordienko, a football player for Lviv FC, said: “I condemn ideas of gay Prides because I am a Christian.
“The Holy Bible several times says that homosexuality is a sin and perversion.
“I would like to stress that many sportsmen are extremely against the homosexuality. I have never met anyone among my colleagues who would have said something for the approval of such lifestyle.
“I do not want my children to live in a country where homosexualism would be a common thing. We, as a citizens, do not have a right to let it go! So I declare about my solidarity with the movement Love against Homosexuality.”
In May LGBT groups in the Ukraine were prevented from marking the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) after a last minute intervention by local religious groups.
The Nikolaev Association for Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals “LiGA,” had planned a programme of peaceful events in the major city to raise awareness of LGBT rights.
The programme, which legally required no formal notification, was scheduled for 16th May. However, on the morning of the 16th organisers where handed a letter by local authorities.
The letter cited opposition from a number of local religious groups, stating:
“The Roman Catholics, Christianity of Evangelist belief, The Seventh Day Adventists, Eparchy of Christianity and Baptist and the Union of Independent Orthodox churches have asked local authorities to forbid any action by representatives of sexual minorities.”
The authorities told organisers that due to the likelihood of friction the programme of events would have to be cancelled.
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Gay rights groups claimed that the move was unlawful and have promised that legal action will be pursued.
While the Ukraine continues to stress its European credentials and seek EU membership, there are questions over its commitment to human rights.
MPs from the governing party have spoken out about “propaganda and expansion of homosexuality in the country form a threat to national security, contradict national interests and undermine the authority of rights and freedoms of human being and family.”
The Ukranian parliament’s Committee on the Issues of Freedom of Speech has attacked the “increasing propaganda” about gay and lesbian issues.
“Such a situation obliges organs of state power to adopt determined and urgent steps for stopping popularisation of homosexualism, lesbianism, other sexual perversions, which do not correspond to moral principles of the society,” the committee reported.
The Committee’s stance followed letters from MPs claiming that gay and lesbian people threaten national security and contradict the national interest.
Since 1991 Ukraine, formerly part of the Soviet Union, has had an equal age of consent and homosexuality was decriminalised at that time.
However, there are no specific protections for LGBT minorities, and the country is generally dominated by the Orthodox church and is deeply socially conservative.
Only 15% of the population are supportive of the existence of gay couples.