Main | Friday, January 25, 2013

RUSSIA: 20 Protesters Arrested As Duma Approves Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Today the Russian Duma almost unanimously approved the first reading of the national bill to ban "homosexualist propaganda."
The bill was supported by 388 MPs with one vote against and one abstention. The ban was submitted by deputies from the Novosibirsk Region in Siberia, who had earlier introduced similar local regulations. If approved, it would introduce heavy fines for the promotion of homosexuality among children. Those found guilty of the offence could be fined up to 5000 roubles (about $160), but the fines increase 10-fold for officials and 100-fold for companies.

Hearings were initially scheduled for December, but got postponed twice which caused some MPs to suggest that there must be some kind of a homosexual conspiracy which is desperate to prevent the law from coming into force. Similar laws already exist in several Russian regions, including the country’s second-largest city St. Petersburg. The initiators of the federal ban say that homosexual propaganda in Russia is rife, both through the mass media and public action, and children are especially vulnerable as they cannot critically appraise “the avalanches of gay propaganda that fall upon them every day”.
LGBT activists outside the Duma were assaulted and pelted with eggs by members of the Russian Orthodox Church, but the Associated Press reports that it was "mostly" the gay protesters who were arrested.

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