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Ukrainian City Bans 'Deviant' LGBT Marches

An LGBT community march in Kharkiv on September 15.
An LGBT community march in Kharkiv on September 15.

The Rivne City Council in western Ukraine has banned the holding of equality marches.

The local lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community had plans to hold an event on January 1 in the regional capital located 327 kilometers west of Kyiv.

The ban, initiated by the head of the council’s budget committee, city councilman Oleh Karpyak of the nationalist Svoboda party, cited the Family Code as justification.

According to a city council decision issued on December 24, the legislation is intended "to prohibit the propaganda of various types of deviant sexual behavior in the city of Rivne, including in the form of so-called 'equality marches,' 'pride parades,' 'queer culture festivals,' and so forth, held in places of mass leisure for families with children."

Thirty-six local deputies voted for the ban, two abstained, and no one voted against.

City council members in favor of the decision specifically cited Article 3 of the Family Code when making their decision, which says: "The family is created on the basis of marriage, shared bloodline, adoption, as well as on other grounds not prohibited by law and not contrary to the moral principles of society."

The proponents of the ban also claimed that LGBT events "pose a threat to the institution of the family and include elements of a sexual or erotic nature."

January 1 is also the date for which events have been planned to commemorate the birthday of mid-20th century Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera.

Bandera is revered as a hero by many Ukrainians for leading the militant wing of the anti-Soviet independence movement,
the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN).

But Bandera -- who was eventually killed by a Soviet assassin in Munich in 1959 -- is regarded as a traitor by others for leading an insurgent war against Soviet forces and collaborating with Nazi Germany, although the OUN also fought against the Nazis.

In recent years, gay parades and other LGBT events have been held in Kyiv and several other Ukrainian cities, although a significant portion of society doesn’t approve of them.

A poll conducted in Europe by Pew Research published in October found that 14 percent of Ukrainians believe that society should embrace homosexuality.

With reporting by UNIAN, Hromadske, Suspilne, and Novoye Vremya
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