k23_18025473Kyrgyzstan: The United States embassy in Kyrgyzstan has condemned local lawmakers for planning to adopt anti-gay laws that it says will only perpetrate discrimination and jeopardize the Central Asian nation’s fragile civil society structure.

Kyrgyzstan’s parliament last week started debating legislation which propose introducing tougher punishment for “popularizing homosexual relations” and “propaganda of a homosexual way of life,” according to reuters.com.

The new bill proposes fines or prison terms of up to one year will for those “forming a positive attitude to untraditional sexual relations” among minors or in mass media, it said.

“No one should be silenced or imprisoned because of who they are or whom they love. Laws that discriminate against one group of people threaten the fundamental rights of all people,” the U.S. embassy in Kyrgyzstan said in a statement.

Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic is struggling to build a parliamentary democracy and ever since its independence in 1990. Its two presidents have been deposed by popular revolts since 2005.

The proposed bill has to be passed in three readings and then be signed by the president to become a law, reports reuters.com.

The U.S. embassy also called on Kyrgyz lawmakers “to oppose legislation that would criminalize expressions of identity or limit civil society.”

Kyrgyz presidential spokesman Kadyr Toktogulov said it is unclear how this bill will move in parliament as the draft law is still at a very early stage.

Although consensual same-sex relations is legalized in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, Russia, which took over the obligations of the Soviet Union, remains a strong economic supporter and has great influence on this Central Asian republic.

Activists point out that the recent anti-gay propaganda law introduced in the Kyrgyzstan parliament is part of a legislative package imported from Russia.

The law is modeled after Russia which recently passed a bill banning “homosexual propaganda,” meaning no one can talk to minors about the mere existence of gay people or hold pride parades and rallies.

“The Kyrgyz bill is harsher than Russia’s law, because it would apply to all types of communication, not just statements made in the presence of minors,”  said 76crimes.com adding that Kyrgyzstan has moved to align itself more closely with Russia by making it a crime to say anything positive about same-sex relations.

Source: reuters.com