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' imprisonment.

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 on 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 “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.