SOFIA, Bulgaria –¬ Bulgaria’s right wing party Ataka (“Attack” in Bulgarian) has proposed a draft bill to bans gay pride marches.
A previous amendment that would have criminalized homosexual behavior, was rejected by the Bulgaria’s Parliament last week, on the grounds it would violate European Union (EU) law and European Convention of Human Rights.
In response, Ataka has drafted an amendment to the Law on Gatherings, Meetings and Manifestations stating: “No meetings or demonstrations can be held with the purpose of public display of homosexual orientation or affiliation”.
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The amendment states that people, associations, and political or other public organizations that would organize such events are to be fined between 5,000 to 10,000 BGN (approximately $3,500 – $7,000 USD).
Ataka’s leader, Volen Siderov, said that gay pride marches are not only “an assault on public morality and values, but also represent public incitement to vandalism and antisocial acts. ”
Siderov, well known for his anti-Semitism, told the daily Dvnevik that he believed that the amendment meets the “public’s expectations for the protection of traditional family model and morals, and the protection of civil peace and public safety.”
Last weekend, two Ataka lawmakers advocated the bill on national TV, warning that Pride marches “interferes with normal people” and that LGBT activists were pushing for the legalization of “incest and zoophilia” via the EU.
Article continues below“Bulgaria, like Russia and other Eastern European countries, is very conservative regarding LGBT rights, and Ataka is trying to use this amendment as a populist topic ahead of the upcoming elections for the European Parliament,” Radoslav Stoyanov, of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee organization for the protection of human rights, told LGBTQ Nation.
“Last year, for example, we had a small Pride event in contrast to three anti-gay marches around the country” with the support of Ataka, he added.
Stoyanov also said that such language from senior public figures amount to “hate incitement and have a profound impact on LGBT people “who find it difficult to come out and accept themselves in such a hostile climate or see no option but to leave the country.”