Verkhvovna Rada of Ukraine has passed in its first reading the draft bill #8711, which bans propaganda of homosexuality. The draft bill has received 286 votes in favor.

The draft bill provides for introduction of amendments to the Law of Ukraine "On protection of public moral", to the Criminal Code of Ukraine, to the Law of Ukraine "On printed media of Ukraine", the Law of Ukraine "On TV and radio broadcast", the Law of Ukraine "On publishing industry" regarding the ban of propaganda of homosexuality and introduction of criminal responsibility for propaganda.

The authors of the draft bill believe that the adoption of this law will increase the effectiveness of combating against propaganda of sexual perversions in Ukraine, will provide legal basis for prosecution of offenders of public order and morality, will exclude social conflicts and even "will assist to the realization of the national security strategy of Ukraine."

Interestingly, the authors of the draft bill did not bother to explain what "propaganda" of homosexuality means. And if in case of adoption of this law journalists still can write about homosexual relations, as one of the draft bill authors Evhen Tsarkov told ForUm, then what do they mean by propaganda?

In his comment, Tsarkov sent us to look this word up in the definition dictionary. We have. According to the dictionary, propaganda is distribution and explanation of information, ideas and disciplines, aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position. So, how is it possible to determine this fine line between explanation of ideas and their promotion at the legislative level? In its current state the draft bill does not give an answer. However, MPs promise to improve the document.

Meanwhile, LGBT-communities are raising alarm - instead of controlling children's access to the information, MPs have decide to control the very information, due to which 'adult' content can fall under the ban as well.

ForUm has asked MPs and experts about why this law has been developed, against what it is aimed and whether Ukraine needs it at all.

Lilia Hryhorovych, MP from Our Ukraine faction, co-author of the draft bill:

- Nobody forbid homosexual relations in Ukraine. The goal of this draft bill is to protect our children from visible and imposed propaganda. As a doctor, I can tell you that there are two types of homosexuality: congenital and acquired. The first type results from the low level of testosterone in mother's organism, while bright pictures cause the second one.

My friend once told me how her grandchildren reacted to the gay-parade in New York: bright festival with decorated kissing people. After such show, in response to the question who he wanted to be in the future the six-year-old boy said: "I will be a gay". He does not know what it is, but he remembers it is fun. Here is propaganda of homosexuality, imposing of something Mother Nature would hardly want.

Let everyone live with whom he wants. But if on the whole planet men live with men and women live with women the humanity will seize to exist in 100 years. Everything will go as Satan wants.

Eduard Bagirov, head of the International league on Ukrainian citizens rights protection:

- As a human right activist, who protects rights of Ukraine's citizens, I stand for every person in our country to have a right for self-expression, lifestyle and opinions. I will not criticize people with untraditional sexual orientation. 

As for the draft bill, I believe such complicated issues must be decided by the Ukrainian people. The lawmakers have the right to submit draft bills for consideration as subjects of legislative initiative. However, it would be more proper to put such moral issues to all-Ukrainian referendum.

Yulia Kovalevska, MP from the Party of Regions faction, co-author of the draft bill:

- We have collected 100 thousand signatures in support of this draft bill, which means the society demands a solution for this problem. More than 280 MPs from all factions and parties have passed this draft bill in its first reading, thus I think that the document has good chances to be adopted.

The draft bill is not aimed at discrimination of certain groups of population by their sexual orientation. The MPs do not interfere with personal life of people, do not forbid gay-societies, but gay-parades, for example, will be banned, as it is propaganda. We believe that advertisement of such lifestyle harms the psyche of a child and forms wrong idea about his sexual identity. We need this law to protect child psyche from emotional trauma.

Obviously, the law will be amended, especially regarding criminal responsibility for propaganda. We also need to clarify the definition of "propaganda of homosexuality" and its manifestation. By the second reading, the draft bill will viable enough.

Svyatoslav Sheremet, acting president of Gay-forum of Ukraine, secretary of the Permanent referent group on LGBT-communities and MSM service projects in Ukraine:

- Parliamentary voting for the draft bill is the very poor judgment of MPs. First of all, this is a great advertisement of gay-communities: we observe big explosion of interest to problems of LGBT-communities. The authorities speak about gays as never before: speaker spoke on the air of "Rada" channel yesterday, Foreign Ministry has issued a separate statement, international political organizations will consider it necessary to announce their position on the problem in public.

Secondly, only unprofessional lawmakers can vote for such "laws", which reminds a picture of abstractionist rather than a legislative act. It is totally unclear what it speaks about. What is this mysterious "propaganda of homosexuality"?

In my opinion, the draft bill with a long name "On introduction of amendments to certain legislative acts (regarding protection of children right for safe information space) is a masterpiece of political technologies and Jesuitical approach to realities of our life. Judge for yourself. On one hand, the law makes the children rights protection the cornerstone, but - tough luck - the document itself does not say a word about children. On the other hand, the authors of the draft bill state that "propaganda of homosexuality" must be banned in our country, but by propaganda they mean simple provision of information.

This draft bill reminds a lot another shame of legislative thought - the draft bill on libel, which was opposed by the society and mass media. Both draft bills are unacceptable due to similar reason: in case of adoption, they may become an instrument of blackmailing and other manipulations. Everything can fall under 'propaganda of homosexuality" starting from classical literature and images on ancient amphoras and to contemporary TV series, which speak about homosexual relations just because they exist.

Moreover, who will decide what propaganda is and what is not? For this, we must create a National expert commission on combating propaganda of homosexuality, to hire qualified experts, who will monitor information space 24/7.  We can also return to the genial initiative of Pope Paul IV - "List of Prohibited Books".

Oleh Pokalchuk, social psychologist:

- In my opinion, propaganda of homosexuality does exist in our Ukraine, and I believe it is bad. I would not name it a disease, but it is certainly a social problem. There are people who promote homosexuality and call upon us to choose this way as a gateway to Europe, which put at risk the fragile balance of moral relations in the society. That's why I believe this law is appropriate.

Evhen Tsarkov, MP from Communist party faction, co-author of the draft bill:

- Many journalists ask whether propaganda of homosexuality is an urgent question. I want to tell that this draft bill did not appear yesterday. It has been in the parliament for the two years already, but due to the pressure by various western democratic companies at the level of UN and EU, imposed on the speaker and President Administration its consideration has never taken place until now.

However, we could no longer ignore it, thus it was submitted for consideration. Many people see certain violations of human rights in this draft bill. But, first of all, none of international legal acts recognizes homosexual relations as a right. None of the documents in the United Nations or any other organization states that sexual perversion is a right. Trust me, Ukrainians do not care about the right for homosexual relations. People care more about the right for normal salary, for labor and free of charge medicine. Thus, due to numerous demands from 200 thousand people, who collected signatures through public organizations and church councils - both Christian and Muslim, we had to adopt this draft bill. And this draft bill has been created for protection of children rights, not for impairment of rights of minorities.

The word "propaganda" says for itself. In Europe, for example, there are books, like a manual for pre-school children, which impose homosexual relations. There are pictures with two gays raising a child, and the note says it is normal, there are pictures with two lesbians raising a child, and another notes says it is also normal. Then the book shows similar examples with elephants. Distribution of such books has started in Ukraine. We believe this is propaganda, and I am sure the majority of Ukrainian citizens do not want to see this in our system.

In top echelons of power you can hear sometimes: "Sorry, but we cannot adopt this norm, as we risk the establishment of visa free regime with Europe." I will tell you not as a politician, but as a student: I don't want to go to Europe through such back passage. If I am put in front of a choice either to corrupt the society and traditional family institute or not to go to the European Union, well I don't give a damn about such European Union, as well the majority of Ukrainians, I am sure.

And if journalists are afraid this law will forbid them to write about homosexual relations or to cover certain social problems, they are wrong. This law concerns only propaganda. This is the matter of the mindset. We have not impaired anyone's rights.


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