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Romania: EU Welcome Moves To Lift Prosecution Threat Against Gays

London, 22 May 1998 (RFE/RL) -- The EU has welcomed proposed amendments to Romania's criminal code which would lift the threat of prosecution from gay rights groups.

A statement issued by the EU presidency yesterday said: "The European Union welcomes the Romanian government's proposed amendments to the criminal code relating to homosexuality."

The statement says if the amendments are passed by the Romanian parliament, this will ensure that individuals are treated equally regardless of sexual orientation.

The statement, issued by Britain, which holds the six-month rotating presidency of the EU, urged the Romanian parliament to pass the amendments into law as soon as possible.

It said if the proposals become law, they "will represent a step forward for Romania in complying with its obligations as a party to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights."

Changes to the law in 1966 decriminalized consensual homosexual relations carried out in private. But the law retained what an EU briefing paper calls two unwelcome elements.

They were a clause allowing prosecution if there was a public scandal, and another which could allow for the prosecution of gay-rights groups on the grounds that they were, in effect, inciting people to become homosexuals.