Ukraine Sides Closer to the European Union, Adopts LGBT Anti-Discrimination Law

10 November 2015: LGBT Communities Hold Action Outside Rada in Kiev. They urge the parliament to adopt laws required for the visa liberalization with the European Union. Image via Furyk Nazar

10 November 2015: LGBT Communities Hold Action Outside Rada in Kiev. They urge the parliament to adopt laws required for the visa liberalization with the European Union. Image via Furyk Nazar

The Ukrainian Parliament passed nondiscrimination legislation in the Ukrainian Parliament that will provide needed workplace protections for LGBT citizens and others throughout the country. The bill, which introduces a new clause to Ukraine’s Labor Code, aims to protect a wide range of people seeking to work free from discrimination and abuse in the country. The legislation was part of a series of reforms that the legislature, known as Verkhovna Rada, has been considering in order to establish visa-free travel throughout the European Union for its citizens.  Although the legislation met controversy and required several rounds of voting to pass, this decision is a demonstration of progress for LGBT equality in the nation.

“This is the first time in 25 years where LGBT people in Ukraine have legal protection from discrimination,” said Bogdan Globa, founder and executive director of Fulcrum, an LGBT rights advocacy organization in Ukraine.  “This vote proves that Ukraine can change, and must change, to welcome and protect its LGBT citizens.  The battle for full equality still lies ahead, and we will continue to work for protections from all form of discrimination as part of a free and democratic Ukraine with equal rights for all.”

This is a major step for the Ukraine, though there is a lot more work that has to be done in the country.

The speaker of the Parliament, told the MPs, “I hear some fake information which says that there may be same-sex marriages in Ukraine. God forbid, this will ever happen. We will never support this.”

This summer, LGBT activists in Ukraine were brutally beaten and attacked during Kiev’s annual Gay Pride Parade, and a month later two men were violently assaulted for merely holding hands in public.

The legislation was required for the Ukraine to become part of Shengen and to allow for Ukrainian citizens to travel visa-free throughout much of the European Union. EU officials will meet in two weeks to decide whether the country can travel visa-free. [HRC] & [BBC]

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