Chisinau – Moldovan Parliament voted Friday to repeal its recently enacted law prohibiting the “propagation of any other relations than those related to marriage or family” that was hurriedly passed last summer.
In July 2013, it was announced that the Moldovan Parliament had amended article 90.1 of the Code of Administrative Offences on 23 May 2013, to ban the “distribution of public information and/or committing acts aimed at the propagation of prostitution, paedophilia, pornography or of any other relations than those related to marriage or family in accordance with the Constitution and the Family Code”. Violations of the law would result in fines up to 500 EUR and/or prohibition of specific activities from three months to up to one year.
Based on the law, those found in violation could face fines of 8,000 Leu, (about $628 dollars), while businesses or non-government organization faced possible suspension of activities for up to a year.
Thomas Hughes, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19 said that “Similar legislation is in force in Russia and Lithuania and is currently under consideration in Ukraine. ‘Homosexual propaganda’ bans can result in the censorship of vital information about health and education – including about sex education and HIV. People must be allowed to access information and hear alternative views, these are fundamental requirements for a healthy democracy.”
On 11 October the Moldovan Parliament passed amendments to the Code on Administrative Offences lifting sanctions on the dissemination of public information on ‘non-traditional family relations’.
The Orthodox Christian Church strongly backed the propaganda law, and after its annulment, several dozen Christians are reported to have gathered outside the parliament with crosses and icons, and attempted to block lawmakers from entering the building.
The amendment of the law is being interpreted as a deliberate political move for Moldova’s European Union accession bid prior to the European Union’s summit in Lithuania, at which Moldova hopes to sign an Association Agreement.
Dunja Mijatovic, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, welcomed a decision of the Moldovan Parliament that will allow for open public debate and dissemination of information on the topic of ‘non-traditional family relations’.