The situation in Crimea has only gotten worse for its LGBT residents.
The Crimean Federal District, previously the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, has been subject to Russia’s law against the promotion of homosexuality ever since it was annexed by Russia, after a sudden occupation by Russian forces and a vote some are calling fraudulent. A Pride march had been planned for April 22-23, but authorities in Sevastopol canceled it on the grounds that such festivities are in violation of Russia’s ban on gay propaganda, marking the first time Crimea had been subjected to those laws.
Since then, Russian lawmaker Vitaly Milonov, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg who helped write the anti-gay law, called for additional steps to be taken in order to “eradicate the experimental practice of sodomy,” according to San Diego Gay & Lesbian News.
His suggestions included coming down even harder on LGBT clubs and organizations, establishing a “morality police,” and enacting restrictions on LGBT-related online social media.
A member of the European Parliament, Ulrike Lunacek, who is also a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the co-president of the LGBT Intergroup, said that “The spread of these ‘anti-propaganda’ laws and the calls for further discriminatory restrictions are truly worrying.
“It shows these laws started a dangerous trend of fear mongering and inciting hatred, whereby some wrongly think that it’s alright to restrict the rights of a group they dislike. The EU and the Council of Europe need to maintain pressure on Russian authorities.”
Meanwhile, in nearby Ukraine, the government withdrew and then re-introduced a bill regarding discrimination in the workplace—this time without including sexuality as a protected class, even though it had been included in the legislation’s previous draft.
Ukraine is currently working to get its laws in line with European Union standards, to allow Ukraine to join in the future. Its lack of LGBT protections are almost certain to get in the way of that goal, but any pro-gay laws are likely to be very difficult to pass, as a 2007 poll showed that only 5.7% of Ukrainians considered “gay lifestyles” acceptable, and even fewer, 4.7%, said they considered legalizing marriage equality to be a priority.
When a similar bill was postponed indefinitely in May 2013, officials cited a desire to avoid potential violence as their reason for dropping the bill.