Gay call to boycott wine from Romania wines
Wednesday 22 January 1997
The move comes just three months after OutRage! activists disrupted a Romanian National Opera performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London by unravelling a huge banner with the slogan: "Romania - stop jailing queers".
Peter Tatchell, OutRage!'s most famous campaigner, said: "We are hoping that it won't just be gay people supporting this boycott but everybody who is concerned about human rights.
"Romania is now the only country in Europe that still outlaws male and female homosexuality."
Under a newly modified law, homosexual relations between consenting adults in Romania are punishable with up to five years' jail if they are conducted in public or if they are deemed to have caused a "public scandal".
The law represents a relaxation of the harsher legislation in force under the communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu but when it was passed late last year it was immediately condemned by OutRage! and the human rights organisation Amnesty International as still being way out of line with West- and even East-European norms.
"The term 'public scandal' ...could still be used to imprison consenting adults," Ivan Fischer, an Amnesty spokesman, said. "Under this law anyone could go to the police and claim to be 'scandalised' by ... the effeminate behaviour of a neighbour."
The new law also makes it an offence for homosexuals to form their own associations or engage in acts of "propaganda" or "proselytising" - effectively banningtheir clubs, bars, newspapers or any other form of support.
According to Mr Tatchell, the law is in flagrant breach of Romania's promise to decriminalise homosexuality following its accession to the Council of Europe in 1993 and is a serious obstacle to its ambition to join the European Union.
Hopes for a genuine liberalisation of the law were raised in November when Emil Constantinescu was elected as president. He once promised to repeal the current legislation; in office, however, he has not chosen to push the issue.
Indeed, rather than liberalising the law, there are many in the country who would like to see a return to the Ceausescu-era legislation. Romania's powerful Orthodox church hasorganised mass petitions calling for the return of the blanket ban on homosexual practices, which it condemns as "the tyranny of selfish, barren passion".
Many of Mr Constantinescu's political allies in the governing Peasant Party also take a hard line. In last year's debates on the law, the Peasant Party MP Emil Popescu said that "incest is preferable to homosexuality," because it "gives breeding a chance". Horia Pascu, a party colleague, claimed that homosexuality was unknown in the animal world, except among ducks, "which are known to be the most stupid among birds".
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
- 4 Paul Hollywood: Police asked if I wanted them to arrest Mary Berry for vandalism after she 'defaced' my car
- 5 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Tower of London poppies: Tens of thousands of people flock to see installation in its final days
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...