AUCCRO urges VR to reject bill on "intolerance" towards LGBT people

AUCCRO called on the Verkhovna Rada to reject the bill on "intolerance" towards LGBT people. Photo: vrciro.org.ua

The fight against discrimination, as spelled out in bill No. 5488, can lead to the suppression of freedom of speech, religion and expression, the AUCCRO stressed.

The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations (AUCCRO) called on the Ukrainian government to withdraw and the Verkhovna Rada to reject bill No. 5488 "On Amendments to the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offences and the Criminal Code of Ukraine Regarding the Fight against Manifestations of Discrimination", reports the AUCCRO website.

The AUCCRO explained the threats posed by the bill, emphasizing that the fight against discrimination can lead to suppression of freedom of religion, freedom of speech and expression.

In their address to the authorities, religious leaders expressed concern about another attempt to promote gender ideology in Ukrainian legislation, in particular through attempts to introduce ideological and medical concepts of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” into the Criminal Code and the Code of Administrative Offences.

Moreover, the AUCCRO emphasized that amending the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offences with a new article 188-56, which recognizes as an offence any restriction of rights or privileges on certain grounds, can lead to the opposite effect.

For example, the refusal of employment in a religious organization to persons with an unnatural sexual orientation or the inability for women to be ordained as clergy can be recognized as discrimination.

According to the religious leaders, the proposed legislative changes pose a direct threat to the implementation of the constitutional right to freedoms of speech and expression. Thus, any participants in public discussion, including religious leaders, who will criticize same-sex relationships as immoral, sinful, and will call for limiting the propaganda of such a way of life, will be under the threat of prosecution and penalties of large fines.

It is also noted that in the Ukrainian legislation there is no definition of the concepts "gender" and "gender identity", which is an additional basis for abuse in this area. In addition, as the interpretation of gender is constantly being replaced by new mental ideological constructs, it creates constant challenges to the fundamental rights to the freedom of religion and the freedom of expression.

“By promoting the problematic bill No. 5488, the government and parliament can provoke the outrage of millions of believers of different faiths and in different regions who do not accept the imposition of gender ideology (self-identification) on Ukrainian society and will not tolerate encroachments on the freedom of religion and the freedom of expression. In this situation, the risk of public protests is very high.

In connection with the threats posed by this government initiative to combat discrimination, the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations calls on the government to withdraw bill No. 5488, and parliament to reject it,” the message on the AUCCRO website says.

As reported, bill No. 5488 5488 "On Amendments to the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offences and the Criminal Code of Ukraine Regarding the Fight against Manifestations of Discrimination" was submitted to the Verkhovna Rada on May 13 at the initiative of Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal and in accordance with the EU Association Agreement.

The draft law defines "intolerance" as an open, biased, negative attitude towards people on a number of grounds (LGBT, race, age, language, religious beliefs, etc.), and introduces punishment for its manifestation (fines and imprisonment for up to 8 years).

Earlier, in Kyiv, nationalists protest against the law "on criticism of LGBT people", while gay activists demanded that the bill be passed.

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