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Elton John Criticizes Ukraine’s Stance on Gay Rights

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Monday Jul 2, 2012
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Sir Elton John criticized the Ukraine’s stance on its gay community in an article he wrote for the British newspaper The Guardian. The Eastern Europe country’s officials are considering laws that would make it illegal for the media to talk about LGBT issues.

"Draft law number 8711, due to be debated by the Ukrainian parliament this week, would make it an offence to talk about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues in the media. Even HIV advice to gay men could be banned. Some of the local activists I spoke to believe it would become illegal even to use the word ’gay’ in public," the musician wrote.

Ukraine, a conservative Orthodox Christian country, currently does not recognize same-sex marriage and according to a Wikipedia article, most LGBT Ukraine people are afraid to express their sexuality.

In Sir Elton’s article, the pop star mentions the recent passing of an anti-gay law in Saint Petersburg, Russia, that "bans gay propaganda." The controversial law has received a number of critics from around the world and in May, 17 gay activists were arrested for protesting the law, which defines "homosexual propaganda" as "the targeted and uncontrolled dissemination of generally accessible information capable of harming the health and moral and spiritual development of minors," that could create "a distorted impression" of "marital relations."

In June Russia officials illustrated another attack on the gay community when the Moscow City Court upheld a decision of a lower court’s ruling to ban gay pride in Russia’s capital for 100 years. The decision came after Nikolay Alekseeve, a prominent gay activist in Russia, said he found a loophole in Russia’s legislation and submitted a request for gay pride parades to be held for the next century to Moscow Mayor’s office. The request backfired, however, and the Moscow City Court decided to ban the celebration until the year 2112.

"Just ask yourself how likely it is that a young person would be corrupted by a poster for a gay movie and you can see how absurd the laws are. They are a direct and intentional attack on the human rights of LGBT people," the celebrity wrote.

Sir Elton also points out that the new anti-gay law in the Ukraine would also make it harder for HIV charities, including the singer’s Elton John AIDS Foundation, to educate young people about safe-sex.

"LGBT rights are human rights and human rights are LGBT rights. We are not asking for any special privileges, just the same protections under the law as everybody else," Sir Elton writes.

This isn’t the first time Sir Elton has been involved with Ukraine’s anti-gay views. In 2009, the country’s minster for family affairs said that the pop icon could not adopt a 14-month-old Ukrainian child because he is too old and because he is not traditionally married.

Sir Elton and his partner David Furnish wanted to adopt an HIV-infected baby named Lev who was in a hospital for HIV-infected children in eastern Ukraine. But the country’s Family, Youth and Sports Minister Yuriy Pavlenko told the Associated Press that it is required that adoptive parents be married and Ukraine does not recognize gay unions as marriage.

"Foreign citizens who are single have no right to adopt children ... and the age difference between the adopter and the child cannot be more than 45 years," Pavlenko said. "The law is the same for everybody: for a president, for a minister, for Elton John."

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