Kazakhstan’s Constitutional Council has struck down a controversial law that would have outlawed “propaganda” of homosexuality to minors, amid signs the legislation was damaging the country’s bid to host the Winter Olympics. The law was “not in line with the constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan” the Vlast.kz website quoted the Constitutional Council (which rules on the legality of legislation) as saying. The law governed “the protection of children from information causing damage to their health and development.” It was passed by parliament in February. The council struck down the law because of unclear wording rather than human rights concerns, the Vlast.kz report said. The announcement came after a group of household-name sports stars urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reject Kazakhstan’s bid to host the Winter Games in Almaty in 2022, arguing that the law outlawing the “propaganda” of homosexuality to minors was incompatible with Olympic principles of equality.
After the October 2014 withdrawal of Oslo, Almaty’s only remaining 2022 Olympics rival is Beijing, which hosted the summer games in 2008. The IOC makes its final decision on July 31st. Almaty is Kazakhstan’s largest city with a population of 1.5 million.