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Latvia rejects
proposed ban on "homosexual propaganda"

Latvia rejects
proposed ban on "homosexual propaganda"

Lawmakers in 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.

Media analyst 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.

"Latvia First 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 Advocate)

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Latvia rejects
proposed ban on "homosexual propaganda"

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