Mean­ing of equal­ity

Kyiv Post - - Opinion -

Those watch­ing Ukraine’s par­lia­ment strug­gle to pass anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion leg­is­la­tion this week would be for­given for think­ing they were watch­ing Rus­sia’s State Duma, where it’s ac­cept­able to pro­mote violence against gays.

In the end, Ukrainian law­mak­ers on Nov. 12 passed the bill sup­ported by Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko and the Euro­pean Union, leg­is­la­tion that pro­hibits dis­crim­i­na­tion in the work­place. But it took them three ses­sions to pass it, and through­out the en­tire process, ho­mo­pho­bia was on full dis­play.

It was passed in six at­tempts, and only af­trer the speaker promised the leg­is­la­tion wouldn’t lead to same-sex mar­riages.

The big­otry and ho­mo­pho­bia on dis­play in the leg­is­la­ture was rem­i­nis­cent of Rus­sian law­mak­ers Vi­taly Milonov and Elena Mizulina, who au­thored the anti-LGBT leg­is­la­tion that has of­fi­cially sanc­tioned violence against gays.

With its re­luc­tance to pass this cru­cial leg­is­la­tion, Ukraine showed that it is still plagued by the same Soviet big­otry as its back­ward and bel­liger­ent neigh­bor.

Once adopted, so­cial me­dia was full of joy­ful procla­ma­tions such as, “Yay! The LGBT activists weren’t at­tacked at the protest (in front of par­lia­ment)!”

Con­sider the im­pli­ca­tions of this: Ukrainian so­ci­ety is so over­run with big­otry that peo­ple are sim­ply used to les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual and trans­gen­der activists get­ting at­tacked. They feel com­pelled to cheer when they don’t get at­tacked.

Ac­cus­tomed to a Soviet men­tal­ity in gov­ern­ment, the pub­lic must ex­press thanks when law­mak­ers pass a bill that would have been passed with­out hes­i­ta­tion in most Western coun­tries.

The worst part is that law­mak­ers seemed gen­uinely obliv­i­ous to what equal­ity ac­tu­ally means.

While the amend­ment has found strong sup­port among gay rights activists, it is about much more. It’s about equal­ity as a whole – for all gen­ders, races, re­li­gions, eth­nic­i­ties, ages and much more. It guar­an­tees that peo­ple from all walks of life will be en­ti­tled to the same rights.

And yet some­how, in the puny minds of cer­tain law­mak­ers, this bill was dis­torted to mean gay mar­riage was right around the cor­ner. To them, equal­ity is an alien con­cept. And now that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity has seen this, it will be harder to be­lieve that Ukraine really wants progress and growth.

But hey, at least no one was vi­o­lently at­tacked while speak­ing out for equal­ity.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ukraine

© PressReader. All rights reserved.