Russian Orthodox Church Calls For Referendum To Criminalize Homosexuality
similar demand from Russian actor Ivan "Burn Gays Alive" Okhlobystin, the Russian Orthodox Church has called for a public referendum to criminalize homosexual acts.
The Church's abrupt intervention came amid a growing debate over whether the Kremlin should mount a firmer defence of traditional values that many in the overwhelmingly conservative country view as coming under attack from Europe and the United States. Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin pointed to polls showing more than half of Russians viewing homosexuality as either an illness or a crime as a sign that the country was ready to revert to a Soviet-era homosexual ban. "There is no question that society should discuss this issue since we live in a democracy," Chaplin told the online edition of the pro-government Izvestia daily. "For this reason, it is precisely the majority of our people and not some outside powers that should decide what should be a criminal offence and what should not," he said.A member of Vladimir Putin's ruling party told the news agency Interfax that Russia is bound by international treaties that ban outlawing homosexuality.