Ukraine parliament tentatively approves much-criticized anti-gay bill

The Associated Press

KIEV, Ukraine - Ukrainian lawmakers have given tentative approval to a much-criticized bill that envisions jail time for people who disseminate positive information about gays.

The bill submitted over the summer has caused outrage among Western rights groups and politicians who have called it a flashback to Soviet times, when homosexuality was a criminal offence.

The bill envisages prison terms of up to five years for spreading "propaganda of homosexuality," which is defined as positive public depiction of gays. The bill's authors have cited movies like "Brokeback Mountain" as an example of such propaganda.

Despite the criticism, legislators on Tuesday passed the bill in the first of two required readings. President Viktor Yanukovych has refused to say whether he will sign the bill into law.