2012-05-25 17:35:00

Moldovan parliament passes equality bill enraging Communists and clergy

Chisinau, May 25, Interfax - The Moldovan parliament passed a bill on Friday on guarantees of equality which was opposed by the clergy and several political parties, including Communists.

Justice Minister Oleg Efrim said while presenting the bill that it defines the mechanism of guaranteeing the equality of citizens of Moldova in compliance with the constitution and European directives.

"The adoption of the law is one of the conditions for visa-free travel with the EU," he said.

During the debate, opposition figure Veronica Abramciuc said faction leaders are compelling deputies to vote for it even though they are opposed to the bill and suggested voting by secret ballot but the majority did not support her proposal.

Parliament speaker Marian Lupu said that the bill does not permit same-sex marriages or adoptions but creates equal conditions for the life and work of all citizens of Moldova.

The Communist faction, consisting of 39 deputies who boycotted the parliament session, urged colleagues not to pass the bill claiming that the population does not support it.

In its initial version the document was called the law against discrimination. It aroused dissatisfaction among Christian associations over the phrase 'sexual orientation'. After consultations with European partners the document was renamed into the law on equal opportunities.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Vlad Filat suggested calling it the bill on guarantees of equality which became the third version of its name.