The Ukrainian Parliament on Friday
canceled a scheduled vote on a bill which would ban citizens from
speaking favorably about gay men and lesbians.
If approved, 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.” Offenders face fines and up to five years'
The law would apply to a journalist who
publishes a positive article about being gay, a writer who includes a
positive portrayal of a gay person on television, or a teacher who
supports gay rights in the classroom.
The proposed legislation had been
condemned by human rights groups and many European officials, saying
it would have a chilling effect on freedom of speech and expression.
International human rights group
Thursday delivered a petition opposing the bill to Ukrainian
authorities as well as the European Union and Council of Europe.
“More than 120,000 All Out members
spoke out against this horrendous legislation and pushed it to the
top of Europe's diplomatic agenda,” said Andre Banks, co-founder
and executive director of AllOut.org. “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.”
Last month, singer Elton John made an
emotional appeal to Ukraine to end the persecution of gays.
“I plead with you: Stop the violence
against gay people,” he told the crowd at an AIDS concert in Kiev.