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Romania’s Parliament Eases Ban on Homosexuals

September 25, 1996

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) _ Under international pressure, Romania eased a proposed law on homosexuality Wednesday, limiting prison sentences to homosexual acts in public or those causing ``a public scandal.″

Earlier this month, Parliament’s lower Chamber of Deputies approved legislation punishing any homosexual activity with up to five years in jail.

That prompted an outcry from the Council of Europe, of which Romania is a member. The council said it condemned any attempt to criminalize homosexual activity and urged President Ion Iliescu to veto the legislation. The president has to sign laws before they take effect.

A parliamentary committee made the change Wednesday, said Senate spokeswoman Lucia Coles.

Under Communist rule, which ended in 1989, homosexual activity was banned. Parliament has since granted greater civil liberties to all Romanians, but the Orthodox Church and public opinion remain opposed to homosexuality.

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