After six rounds of voting, the Ukrainian parliament passed a bill that would prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The same legislation had been rejected by MPs last week.
The European Commission had previously informed the Ukrainian government that passing an anti-discrimination law covering sexual orientation would be a prerequisite to Ukraine’s bid join the visa-free travel area in Europe known as the Schengen zone. Joining Schengen and becoming closer to the EU are key priorities for Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, whose administration replaced the previous pro-Russia government.
Poroshenko’s supporters were able to garner enough votes to pass the law when the speaker of the assembly assured MPs after the fifth failed vote that the legislation would not lead to same-sex marriage, which is deeply unpopular in the heavily Orthodox Christian country. Poroshenko later tweeted, “Ukraine is breaking free from the shackles of discrimination from the Soviet past. Meanwhile, family values remain inviolable.”