The Ukrainian parliament has rejected a proposed bill that would extend workplace anti-discrimination protections to cover sexual orientation. The legislation, which needed 226 votes to pass, only received the support of 117 MPs.
The European Union has stated that amending the labor code to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a prerequisite to considering whether Ukraine will be allowed to join the Schengen zone, the EU’s visa and passport-free travel area. Joining the zone is a prime concern of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who expressed his support for the bill on television the night before the vote.
While this was just the first of two votes on the law, the lopsided results suggest that passage on the second vote is unlikely. A majority of Ukrainians disapprove of homosexuality, and far-right groups have attacked gay pride parades and gatherings in the past.
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