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Kyrgyz Parliament Approves Law Banning 'Gay Propaganda'

Draft Law Banning Gay 'Propaganda' Passed In Kyrgyzstan
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WATCH: Members of the gay community in Kyrgyzstan say they already face hostility and violence, and they fear that the situation will worsen. (Reuters)

Kyrgyzstan's parliament has approved a draft law that bans "propaganda of same-sex relations" in the first reading.

Lawmaker Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev told RFE/RL on October 15 that 79 deputies voted for the legislation, while seven voted against it.

The law has to pass the parliament's approval in two more readings and then be signed by the president before coming into force.

The bill calls for "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" to be punished by up to one year in jail.

It says journalists found guilty of "propagating" homosexual relations also will be held accountable.

The bill bans the creation of groups that defend the rights of sexual minorities.

After the draft law was approved for debates by a parliamentary committee last week, the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek expressed concerns, saying the bill "fundamentally threatens human rights, Kyrgyzstan’s democratic gains and constitutional guarantees."