Parliamentary Committee approves law banning „propaganda of homosexuality”
Telekritika reports that despite a negative opinion from parliamentary experts, a majority of members of the Parliamentary Committee on Freedom of Speech voted on 16 May to recommend that a draft bill which would outlaw “propagandizing homosexuality” be passed as a base and refined for its second reading. Draft Law No. 8711 “On amendments to some legislative acts regarding protection of children’s right to a safe information realm (Propaganda of homosexuality) was submitted by MPs from different factions.
The Head of the Committee, Yury Stets was in favour of recommending the bill be rejected, and stressed that this was in accordance with the recommendation from the Verkhovna Rada Expert Assessment Department. The latter had said that current legislation also contains “the legal prerequisites for countering propaganda of homosexuality”.
Those who supported the bill:
Olena Bondarenko, Oleksy Fedun and Volodymyr Landik from the Party of the Regions;
Oleksandr Fedun (Communist Party)
Olena Kondratyuk (BYUT)
Did not vote
Viktor Ukolov (BYUT)
Yury Stets (Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defence)
In November 2011, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union issued an open letter to the Speaker of Parliament and chairs of various parliamentary committees expressing concern over the potential consequences of the adoption of this draft law.
It would undoubtedly clash with other legislative norms based on modern ideas and standards.
The draft contains terms which are not defined with sufficient certainty to be able to apply the regulations to the circulation of any information or any discussion which mentions or concerns homosexuality. This, UHHRU points out, infringes Article 34 of the Constitution which clearly states that everyone is guaranteed the right to freedom of thought and speech, and to the free expression of his or her views and beliefs. Everyone has the right to freely collect, store, use and disseminate information by oral, written or other means of his or her choice.
Adoption of the law would also cause unwarranted restriction of the right to peaceful assembly since any picket, rally etc aimed, for example, at defending gay rights, etc, could be qualified as “propaganda of homosexuality”.
Its adoption would also lead to a disproportionate and discriminatory restrict of the right to freedom of thought and speech for one group in society, this being in breach of Article 24 of the Constitution.