Online petition demands inquiry into interior ministry's "homophobic" statement
Activists have launched an online petition demanding that the Prosecutor General's Office look into what they describe as the interior ministry's "homophobic and discriminatory" comments about the UK embassy's show of support for the LGBT community.
A rainbow flag was flown on the embassy's building in downtown Minsk on May 17 to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
In a statement, the interior ministry expressed regret over the flag display and accused the diplomatic mission of an attempt “to create problems where they don’t exist.”
Launched on petitions.by on Monday at 8 a.m., the electronic petition accused the ministry of inciting hatred and making threats of violence against homosexuals, and demanded that the statement be deleted from the ministry's website.
The petition stressed that people's sexuality was "their own business that entails no legal responsibility" and that LGBT people had the same rights as heterosexuals. It noted that the statement ran counter to the police's duty of protecting all people irrespective of their sexuality.
More than 370 people signed the petition as of Monday afternoon.
In its statement, the interior ministry said that the “overwhelming majority of the Belarusians adhere to the traditional family values, including the Christian ones.”
UK Ambassador Fionna Gibb’s statement about the need to promote the rights of LGBT people and draw attention to discrimination against them is a “challenge to these values,” according to the interior ministry.
“Over the entire history of humankind the union of man and woman has been the only natural way of procreation,” said the statement. “It is for this reason that the state is defending this union, putting it under special protection, vesting it with exceptional rights, including in the political and legal aspects.”
“The LGBT community and this entire ‘fight’ for their rights and this community’s day is nothing but a fake,” the ministry said.
“Belarus is leaning on the foundation of the traditional institutes of family and marriage,” said the statement, adding that Belarus was open to “everything that is useful, necessary and progressive, to everything that will improve the Belarusians’ lives and will contribute to the development of society in general.” “We are for the genuine, they shall not pass!” it concluded.