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Social Issues
Russian Lawmakers Pass A Bill Making It Illegal To Tell Children Homosexuality Exists
June 11, 2013
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An orthodox believer throws an egg at gay rights activists outside the State Duma on June 11 (Photo: Reuters)

Russia's lower house of parliament has passed a law that imposes fines on anyone who provides information about homosexuality to people under 18.

The bill, approved by the State Duma, will officially become law once it's approved by the upper house and President Vladimir Putin, which is basically a formality, BBC News reports.

The bill's co-author, Yelena Mizulina, is head of the Duma's Committee for Family, Women, and Children. She says the idea is to protect Russian children from information that rejects "traditional family values."

"[The bill prohibits] the spreading of information aimed at forming nontraditional sexual attitudes among children," she said. "Secondly, [it prohibits] the imposition of information about nontraditional sexual relations that may cause interest among children."

Radio Free Europe (RFL) has video of the vote, and some shots of the reaction among protesters outside:

Gay rights campaigners and anti-gay activists clashed outside the Duma ahead of the vote.

Supporters of the bill threw eggs and water at protesters, before police moved in and took more than two dozen pro-gay activists into custody.

Other demonstrators who weren't detained were attacked by masked men on a central street not far away, the Associated Press reports.

One gay rights activist, Marta, spoke to Radio Free Europe about the legislation.

"Of course, I will never support this law because this law basically outlaws a certain group of people," she said. "This law divides people into equals and unequals so that same-sex couples automatically fall into a category of abnormal people."

Victor, a demonstrator who supports the bill, said this:

"We are against the homosexual lobby in our country. I am here because I am against it. I am against homosexuals as a phenomenon, not only in Russia, but in the rest of the world."

Although homosexuality was officially legalized in Russia in 1993, anti-gay sentiments run high. A recent poll found nearly half of the population believes the LGBT community should not enjoy the same rights as other people.

Under the new law, any citizen found guilty of promoting "homosexual behaviour among minors" can be fined up to 5,000 roubles ($155).

For officials, the fine would be ten times as much, and businesses, media organizations and schools could be fined up to one million roubles, or $31,000.

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Gay rights activists outside the Duma on June 11 (Photo: Reuters)

This wasn't the only controversial bill the Duma voted on today. During the same session, legislators passed a law against offending religious believers.

That law will mean a jail term of up to three years for anyone "offending religious feelings of the faithful."

It follows the jailing of members of the punk band Pussy Riot after their anti-Putin performance at an Orthodox cathedral in February of last year.

Via Talking Points Memo

Related:

Homosexuality: How The World Is Divided

Russian Court Orders Websites To Remove Videos Of Punk Band Pussy Riot Or Risk Being Blocked

Activists In Russia Say New Laws That Ban 'Homosexual Propaganda' Are Fuelling Attacks Against Gays

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