The Republic of Moldova, a country in Eastern Europe landlocked between Ukraine and Romania, overturned its “gay propaganda” ban on Friday in an effort to gain European Union membership.
Having passed the legislation in June, lawmakers voted to repeal the clause that prohibited “relationships [other] than those linked to marriage and the family,” largely advocated for the by country’s Orthodox Christian majority, according to the AFP.
Moldovan government officials reportedly hope to engage in an Association Agreement next month at the European Union summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, recognized as an official step to membership within the EU.
The move comes in wake of international criticism surrounding neighboring Russia’s anti-gay “propaganda” legislation, which is currently paving the way for a bill that would remove the children of LGBT parents from their homes. The legislation has galvanized anti-LGBT activists in the country, enabling a pervasive climate of fear and alleged violence for LGBT citizens living within the former Soviet Union.
Officials in Moscow reportedly opposed the decision by Modovan lawmakers, as did a number of Orthodox Christians who gathered outside of the parliament building in an effort to prevent the entrance of officials.
“Today they are allowing this propaganda,” priest Ghenadie Valuta told the AFP, “and tomorrow they will allow gay marriages.”