Russian bill banning ‘LGBT propaganda’ advances, heads to Putin for signature

Russia Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the government, via a video conference at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP) Mikhail Metzel/AP

Russian bill banning ‘LGBT propaganda’ advances, heads to Putin for signature

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Moscow is poised to ratchet up the clampdown on LGBT rights after Russia’s upper house of parliament unanimously backed a bill Wednesday restricting activities supporters describe as “LGBT propaganda.”

The measure cracks down on characterizing homosexual relationships as “normal” and stipulates fines for the promotion of homosexuality via advertising, books, movies, and more. It cleared the lower chamber, the State Duma, on Nov. 24 and now needs Russian President Vladimir Putin’s signature to become law.

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Under the legislation, fines for violations could entail up to 400,000 roubles ($6,600) and 5 million roubles ($82,100) for entities, Reuters reported. Furthermore, foreigners could get expelled from the country or face 15 days behind bars.

Back in 2013, Russia enacted a law that barred homosexual “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” from being geared toward minors, which drew international outcry from Western nations at the time. This new legislation broadens those restrictions to the rest of the public, namely adults.

Simultaneously, the bill also maintains that content about sex changes, pedophilia, and “LGBT propaganda” spread online will be monitored by Russia’s internet watchdog Roskomnadzor.

Since embarking on the bloody assault of neighboring Ukraine, Moscow has sought to elevate “traditional values” at home, with Putin recently blasting the West for “moving towards open satanism” and cited LGBT policies in the West, per the Guardian.

A chorus of LGBT and human rights groups have condemned the measure, but Putin is expected to sign it into law nonetheless. A 2017 ruling in the European Court of Human Rights concluded that the 2013 law was discriminatory and amplified homophobia.

Winnie Byanyima, executive director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, ripped the policy and raised concerns it could hamstring efforts to combat the spread of HIV.

“In addition to violating the rights of people to autonomy, dignity, and equality, and harming the security and general wellbeing of LGBTQ individuals, this decision will seriously hurt public health. It will undermine Russia’s efforts to end AIDS by 2030. Punitive and restrictive laws increase the risk of acquiring HIV and decrease access to services,” Byanyima decried in a statement.

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Thus far, the 2013 law has been used to take aim at events and organizations, with a few cases against individuals also being tried, the Washington Post reported.

In the United States, a bill to strengthen protections for same-sex and interracial marriages in federal law advanced in the Senate earlier this week and headed back to the House for lawmakers to consider an amended version before sending it to President Joe Biden for his signature.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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