BBC: Ukraine takes aim against 'gay propaganda'

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Oct. 11, 2012 08:51
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In this file photo activists stage an anti-gay protest in Kyiv on May 20 against the first gay pride parade in Ukraine. The gay pride parade was cancelled after one of the leaders of gay community was attacked.
Photo by Kostyantyn Chernichkin

The Ukrainian parliament could give final approval next week to a bill that aims to outlaw "pro-homosexual propaganda" - any "positive depiction" of gay people, gay pride marches, or even the screening of a film like Brokeback Mountain.

Critics have described the legislation, which imposes indeterminate fines and up to five years in prison for repeat offenders, as a throwback to the Middle Ages, although it is only a couple of decades since homosexuality was a criminal offence here and in the rest of the USSR.

In some ways, Ukraine is an open and tolerant society. It was the first former Soviet republic to decriminalise homosexuality, in 1991. It has sprouted its own gay rights movement, and gay night clubs operate freely in central Kyiv.

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