On Wednesday, Russia’s upper house of parliament unanimously voted to strengthen a contentious law prohibiting what the bill refers to as “LGBT propaganda,” making it applicable to Russians of all ages.
After being passed by the Federation Council, the bill must be signed into law by Russian President Vladimir Putin. On November 24, it was approved by the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament.
The proposed law prohibits all Russians from promoting or “praising” homosexual relationships or publicly implying that they are “normal,” as well as “propaganda” of paedophilia and gender reassignment in advertising, books, and films.
The original version of the law, passed in 2013, prohibited “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” among minors. It is now being applied to adults by Russian legislators.
Individuals who spread what the bill calls “LGBT propaganda” or attempt to do so, will be fined up to 400,000 rubles ($6,600). Legal entities can be fined up to 5 million rubles ($82,100). Foreigners can be arrested for up to 15 days or deported, according to the text of the bill.
“The louder they squeal in the West, the more we will be sure that we are on the right track. This topic should become a sin in Russia like it is in many of our religions,” said one of the Senators, Taimuraz Dzambekovich, before voting for the bill to pass.
The controversial law was met with criticism and ridicule in Western countries, including a ruling in the European Court of Human Rights in 2017 that stated Russia’s “gay propaganda law” is discriminatory, promotes homophobia and violates the European Convention on Human Rights.
The bill says that materials published online that include information about pedophilia, sex changes or so-called LGBT propaganda will be included in the list of websites that will be monitored or blocked by Russia’s Internet watchdog Roskomnadzor.
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