Religious leaders of Ukraine call on Parliament and Cabinet of Ministers to reject Bill No. 5488 on intolerance

04.06.2021, 12:22
Religious leaders of Ukraine call on Parliament and Cabinet of Ministers to reject Bill No. 5488 on intolerance - фото 1
The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations asks the Parliament and the Cabinet of Ministers to reject the government's Bill No. 5488 on combating discrimination. The fight against discrimination can lead to harassment of religious freedom, freedom of speech and expression, religious leaders emphasize.

The appeal was published on June 4 on the official website of the AUCCRO.

The AUCCRO is concerned that gender ideology is once again being promoted in the legislation of Ukraine, in particular through attempts to introduce the ideologically medical concepts of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in the Criminal Code and the Code of administrative offenses.

Moreover, the AUCCRO notes that adding a new Article, No. 188-56, to the Code of Administrative Offenses of Ukraine, which recognizes any restriction of rights or privileges on certain grounds as an offense, may lead to the opposite effect.

“As an example, according to the proposed article, discrimination can be recognized as a refusal of employment in a religious organization to persons with unnatural sexual orientation, because such behavior, according to the doctrines of different faiths, is recognized as sinful and unacceptable for clergy. Another example is the impossibility for women to be ordained clergy and bishops in most churches and religious organizations,” the document reads.

According to the AUCCRO, the amendments proposed by draft law No. 5488 pose a direct threat to the implementation of the constitutional right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression. After all, participants in the public discussion, including religious figures who criticize same-sex relationships and partnerships as immoral, sinful and call for limiting propaganda of such an unnatural, depraved lifestyle, as well as to oppose the expansion of the rights of such people (in particular, in the field of adoption and marital relations), will be at risk of prosecution and collecting large fines just for their words and publicly expressed position in favor of natural marital relations.

The AUCCRO notes that the legislation of Ukraine does not contain an interpretation of the concepts of “gender” and “gender identity”, and therefore such legal uncertainty is an additional basis for abuse in this area. Since the interpretation of the concept of “gender” is constantly changing with new imaginary ideological constructs, this creates constant challenges for the fundamental rights to freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

"By promoting the problematic Bill No. 5488, the government and Parliament can provoke outrage among millions of believers of different faiths and regions who do not accept the imposition of gender ideology (self-identification) on Ukrainian society and will not tolerate encroachments on religious freedom and freedom of expression. In this situation, the risk of public protests is very high.

In connection with the threats posed by this government initiative to combat discrimination, the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and religious organizations calls on the government to withdraw Bill No. 5488, and the parliament to reject it," the appeal says.