05:57 GMT +3 hours28 November 2014
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Ukraine Moves Toward Gay Propaganda Law

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Ukrainian lawmakers passed in the first reading on Tuesday a draft law making promotion of homosexuality a criminal offense, in a move similar to a recent legislative measure adopted by the city authorities in Russia’s St. Petersburg.

Ukrainian lawmakers passed in the first reading on Tuesday a draft law making promotion of homosexuality a criminal offense, in a move similar to a recent legislative measure adopted by the city authorities in Russia’s St. Petersburg.

The draft law, approved by 289 out of 350 lawmakers at a parliament session on Tuesday, envisions amendments to several existing laws which would impose prison terms of up to five years and hefty fines for spreading the “propaganda of homosexuality.”

The bill's authors claim "gay propaganda" could lead to a worsening of Ukraine's HIV/AIDS epidemic and destroy the traditional family institution, causing a demographic crisis in the country.

“By promoting the extreme forms of sexual frivolity, the Ukrainian media is creating the conditions for the spread of the AIDS epidemic in Ukraine,” an explanatory note accompanying the bill says.

“In order to prevent this dangerous process, it is necessary to introduce legislation banning the propaganda of homosexuality by the Ukrainian media,” the note says.

The vote on the bill was originally canceled in July following an international outcry. Key European governments, the European Parliament and even famous gay British singer Sir Elton John denounced the draft legislation.