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Ukraine lawmakers give preliminary approval to gay propaganda ban

The Verkhovna Rada [official website], the Ukrainian parliament, on Tuesday approved [press release, in Ukrainian] a draft law [bill 8711 materials, in Ukrainian] that would ban pro-gay "propaganda" in Ukraine. The bill, roughly translated as the "the law on the protection of children's rights to safe information space" would amend laws to create liability for promoting homosexuality, although it does not specify what constitutes promotion of homosexuality. It would also include a criminal provision for importing, producing or distributing documents that both promote homosexuality and, in some way, promote religious intolerance, national intolerance, racism or discrimination, among other offenses. A representative for Insight Ukraine [advocacy website, in Russian], told Gay Star News that the law is so vague as to be dangerous [GSN report], possibly implicating interviews with the media and public protests. The draft law, initially approved by 289 out of 350 MPs present, will receive a second reading, where the Foreign Ministry of the Ukraine [official website] stated that parliament will consider Ukraine's international obligations [Interfax report] to human rights.

The draft law is modeled off of a law in St. Petersburg, Russia [JURIST report] that imposes fines against people convicted of promoting homosexuality, including gays or lesbians who are open about their sexuality. The first conviction [JURIST report] under the law occurred in April, when a gay rights activist was fined for picketing in front of city hall with a sign that said "homosexuality is not perversion." LGBT rights activists continue to challenge the law [JURIST report]. The Russian parliament introduced a similar law [JURIST report] shortly after the St. Petersburg law passed, but it has yet to pass.

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