Latvia on Thursday rejected a bill that sought to ban
"homosexual propaganda" in the mass media, Agence
France-Presse reports. The populist Latvia First Party
had prepared draft amendments to laws that govern what
the media can and cannot do. The measures would have
made it illegal to publish articles about or interviews with
gays and lesbians in which they talk about their lives
or gay rights.
The changes were
necessary to "ensure that the mass media do not weaken
the role of the family institution, do not split society,
and do not create a misconception about a group of
individuals claiming special treatment due to their
beliefs," the party said in a statement.
Anda Rozukalne said the proposed amendments went against
Latvian and international law, speculating that the
Latvia First Party was trying to tap into homophobia
in the Baltic state, which it saw as a vote-getter for
next month's general election.
believes that homophobia is a mother lode that will
help them to attract more voters," Rozukalne told AFP. "It
was clear that the Latvian parliament would reject the
proposal, which goes against national and
international legislation and against common sense.
But it is sad that we have parties which can come up with
such absurd, impudent, and homophobic proposals."
Latvia First has
13 seats in the 100-strong parliament. Interior minister
Dzintars Jaundzeikars, of Latvia First, succeeded in July in
convincing the Riga city council to ban what would
have been Latvia's second gay pride parade, citing
alleged threats to security.
Latvian gays and
lesbians, along with supporters from the European Union
and the United States, staged alternative gay pride events,
during which they were verbally abused and pelted with
eggs and excrement by antigay groups. (The