Orthodox clergy and conservative citizens in the Moldovan city of Balti have called on authorities to burn a sex-education reference book that they say promotes hedonism and homosexuality.
At a press conference
on March 12, parent Andrei Avram led calls for the book to be burned.
“I don’t want my child to study sexual education from a place where they say homosexuality is something normal," Avram said. "I haven’t made children so that someone else can make fools of them. We demand that the country’s government withdraw this manual and burn it.”
The book, a Romanian-language translation of a French reference book titled “A Family Medical Encyclopedia, Vol. II: Sex Life,” was donated to Moldovan schools by neighboring Romania. Other volumes in the series, with titles like “The Brain and the Senses” and “Treating the Body’s Main Afflictions,” did not attract criticism.
It is lavishly illustrated with photographs and classical works of art on the theme of human sexuality. The book includes a section discussing evidence that homosexuality is genetically determined.
According to Moldova’s Jurnal TV, Education Ministry spokeswoman Violina Lavric said the book is not used in courses or to teach students and that libraries have been instructed to lend the book only to older students.
Balti, an economic hub in the north-central part of the country and Moldova’s third-largest city, last year adopted an ordinance banning “homosexual propaganda.” The legislation was based on a similar law originally adopted in the Russian city of St. Petersburg.
A local court in Balti overturned the bill as unconstitutional in February.
City authorities -- led by a coalition of Orthodox activists and the Communist Party – passed the “gay propaganda” ban in the midst of a national controversy in 2012 over an EU-inspired antidiscrimination bill that barred employers from discriminating against people on the basis, among other things, of sexual orientation.