TV

Belarus Eurovision commentator calls for values to be preserved in homophobic comments

Dana International back on Eurovision Videograb of Two Men kissing during Dana's performance

A kiss-cam during Dana Internationals performance celebrated same-sex love (Picture: BBC)

A Belarusian TV presenter made homophobic comments during the broadcast of the first Eurovision Song Contest semi-finals, when same-sex couples were shown on a kiss-cam.

Belarus 1 presenter Eugene Perlin said that values should be preserved as men were filmed kissing while former Eurovision winner Dana International performed during the semi-final interval on Tuesday night.

Diva star Dana sang a version of Bruno Mars Just The Way You Are at Expo Tel Aviv with a kiss-cam focusing on a number of couples around the arena – including two same-sex male couples, who shared sweet kisses.

Dana, a transgender woman, hammered home Eurovisions message of acceptance, saying: Love has no religion, love has no race, love has no limits, love is love. We all deserve to be loved.

However, Perlin mocked the same-sex couples during his commentary on Belaruss broadcast, with the BBC reporting that upon seeing the first male couple kiss, he said: Oh, my goodness! Maybe wed better not watch!

Eugene Perlin

Perlin seemed pretty outraged by the kisses (Picture: BTRC)

When the camera moved on to a man and a woman kissing, he seemed relieved, saying: Ok, so far so good!

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However, when another male couple were shown, Perlin said: Oh, come on! – later adding: Dana is singing that love has no religion, no boundaries, no racial or any other limits. But you know, I want values to preserve their value, so that love remains love.

A number of Belarusians took to social media to express their embarrassment at Perlins comments, with journalist Ales Piletski writing on Facebook: I am personally really ashamed, and adding that he was happy no other countries had to hear the jokes.

BelaPAN news agency director Andrei Aliaksandrau also wrote on Facebook that the channel had hit rock bottom.

Same-sex relationships and sexual activity were decriminalised in 1994 in Belarus; however, same-sex marriages are not recognised and there are no laws protecting LGBTQ+ people against discrimination.

The community is not allowed to openly serve in the military, lesbians cannot access IVF, and same-sex couples cannot legally adopt.

ZENA performs for Belarus at Eurovision

ZENA is through to the final (Picture: Guy Prives/Getty Images)

In a poll in 2017, just 16% of Belarusian were suggested to be in favour of same-sex marriage, with 81% opposing the idea.

Belarus will be represented in the Eurovision grand final by ZENA, who made it through the first semi-final on Tuesday night with her song Like It.

However, even before she performed, controversy arose in regards to social media posts made by Like It composer and producer Viktor Drobysh.

Back in April, Drobysh made homophobic comments in regards to Bruneis plan at the time to introduce death by stoning for homosexual sex and adultery.

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