Lawmakers in Moldova have overturned a law banning the promotion of ‘homosexual propaganda’ to minors, a move expected to ease the former Soviet Union state’s path to membership in the European Union.
A group of protesters made up of Orthodox priests and Communist Party politicians attempted to prevent the parliamentary session by blocking the entrance to the Palace of the Republic in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau.
The law was similar to the widely-condemned ‘homosexual propaganda’ law passed earlier this year in Russia, making it illegal to distribute information about homosexuality to children.
The European Union backed the repeal, which the Moldovan government believes will be looked upon favourably in the lead up to an EU summit in Lithuania in November. Moldova hopes to sign an Association Agreement with the EU at the summit, a significant step towards meeting the country’s goal of EU membership.
The influence of the Orthodox Church in the country since the fall of the Soviet Union has seen LGBTI people in Moldova face increasingly difficult legal challenges.
Although the country has a gay nightlife and advocacy groups, Moldova’s LGBTI community still faces significant discrimination and even violence.