A recent proposal to amend Article 48 of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, submitted by the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) demands criminal liability for propaganda of so-called “homosexualism”, explicitly prohibits same-sex marriage, and defines parents of a child exclusively as a mother and a father. Additionally, the proposed amendments would require Moldova to refuse to ratify the Istanbul Convention.
– If adopted, these amendments would institutionalize inequality and discrimination, and violate the right to family and private life of LGBTI persons. The amendments should be unconditionally repealed, says Mina Skouen, who is responsible for Equal Rights and non-discrimination in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.
At the moment, Moldova does not have a parliament that can vote on these amendments, after the Parliament was dissolved on 28 April, pending early elections.
– It is difficult to see these proposals as anything but PSRM positioning themselves in the election campaign by playing upon hateful rhetoric and prejudice, which may contribute to increased stigma and marginalization of the LGBTI community.
Moldova is ranked 36th out of 49 countries in the annual Rainbow Europe Index of the umbrella organization ILGA-Europe. The index measures adopted laws and policies that have a direct impact on the LGBTI people’s human rights.
This is not the first attempt to propose openly homophobic laws in the country. Law proposals with the intent to prohibit so-called propaganda of homosexualism were adopted on local level in several cities in 2013 and 2012.
The Venice Commission assessed propaganda laws in Moldova, Russia and Ukraine in 2013, and concluded that the statutory provisions prohibiting “propaganda of homosexuality”, are incompatible with ECHtR and international human rights standards. The Venice Commission therefore recommends that these provisions be repealed.
In a landmark ruling in the European Court of Human Rights, in the case of Bayev and others against Russia, a similar law was tested in 2017 and considered a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) and a violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) in conjunction with Article 10.
The PSRM is led by Igor Dodon, who lost his bid for re-election to Maia Sandu during the November 2020 presidential elections. The PSRM is generally perceived as having an anti-EU and pro-Russia stance. Already in 2016, the party pushed hard for a Russia-style law on “gay propaganda” to be introduced in Moldova.
– We call upon all Moldovan political parties to refrain promotion of homophobia and transphobia in the election campaign, and we remind Moldovan authorities about their obligations to secure safety and fundamental human rights for all its citizens, says Skouen.