Not to be out-bigoted by their Russian neighbors, several cities in the notoriously sour country of Moldova have also banned “gay propaganda” in the last two weeks, leading Amnesty International to characterize the situation as a “dangerous climate” for LGBT Moldovans.
In Bălți, Moldova’s third largest city, a bill outlawing “aggressive propaganda of non-traditional sexual orientation” has been passed. In the central city of Anenii Noi, a measure was approved to prevent what councilors called an “epidemic of homosexuality.” The northern villages of Chetriş and Hiliuţi also passed legislation to ban the construction of buildings connected with the practice of Islam or the promotion of homosexuality.
Each of the measures must now be registered with national authorities, and may be challenged before becoming law.
Says John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s deputy program director for Europe and Central Asia:
“In effect, these decisions are inscribing into law discrimination against LGBTI people, and they stoke up a climate of hostility.
“Moldova’s constitution, as well as national laws, guarantees freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. A failure by the national authorities to overturn the local councils’ decisions will amount to violation of their national and international obligations.”
That Moldova is far from gay is no surprise: In his 2009 book The Geography of Bliss, author Eric Weiner called it the world’s most unhappy place.
In 2010, officials in the country’s capital of Chisnau banned a gay rally planned in the city center. In 2008, the Chisnau’s pride march was cancelled after anti-gay protestors surrounded and attacked the bus carrying the event’s 60 marchers, while police stood by and watched.
Photo by Veni Markovski