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Legislative assembly in St. Petersburg, Russia approves anti-gay law

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In the first of three readings, the legislative assembly in Russia’s second city has overwhelmingly approved a law banning so-called “gay propaganda.”

The law, which has been rushed through the St. Petersburg assembly, would prohibit so-called propaganda of “sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism and transgenderism, and pedophilia to minors.” The bill was introduced by Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party.

The law has drawn worldwide protest, however it has yet to be condemned by any Western governments.

In St. Petersburg itself there have been protests. At one on Sunday protesters held up signs saying “I am gay, a human, not propaganda. Milonov [the law's legislative proponent], do not be afraid!” and “I am a lesbian — do not be afraid of me, Babich!”

On Saturday at the NGO Forum of the Nordic countries and Russia in St. Petersburg activists took over the rostrum – to the applause of some delegates and silence from the Russians and many others (see video).

The St. Petersburg law has been widely reported in Russian media.

Two regions of Russia — Arkhangelsk and Ryazan — have previously passed the same law, which have been deemed constitutional by Russian courts despite the chilling of free speech and the attack on LGBT organizing and ability to protest that they represent.

Polina Savchenko, General manager of LGBT organization Coming Out, Russia, described the law as “absurd, both in terms of legal logic, and in terms of plain common sense.”

“So what is the real goal?” she asked. “It is clear that adoption of this law would impose significant limitations on the activities of LGBT organizations. Organizers of public events cannot restrict access of minors to any open area; people under 18 can be there just by chance. Consequently, it makes any public campaigns aimed at reducing xenophobia and hate crime prevention impossible.”

“In the name of ‘public interest,’ members of the Legislative Assembly decided to ignore the Federal law, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention for Human Rights, Council of Europe Recommendations and other decrees by international organizations, of which Russia is a member. However, no public discussions were held.”

UK Gay News points out that on Nov. 7, the United Kingdom took over the Chairmanship of the Council of Europe for six months.

Russia is a member of the Council of Europe and both the Council and its European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly found against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Moscow’s bans on gay pride demonstrations have been before the court and the first anti ‘gay propaganda’ law in Ryazan is also due to come before it. However Russia has previously paid any fines but refused to actually make any changes.

Says UK Gay News:

In the Committee of Ministers during the handover from Ukraine, British Foreign Minister William Hague MP said that the UK Chairmanship will work to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity across Europe.

“Too many people still suffer outdated prejudices, discrimination and violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” he told the Committee of Ministers. “We will work with the secretariat and our partners in the Committee of Ministers to improve all member states’ performance in this area.”

So, over to you Mr. Hague. The repressed LGBT community in Russia needs help.

According to a 2005 poll, 43.5% of Russians supported the re-criminalization of homosexual acts between consenting adults.

The City of Moscow is reportedly considering a similar ‘gay propaganda’ law and there are reports of discussions about a federal Russian law.

Renowned Russian gay activist Nikolai Alekseev has called for Russian politicians to be blocked “from spending their holidays in Nice, Cyprus or Spain” and that Russia’s voting rights at the Council of Europe be suspended. He has also said that petitions from the West to Russian politicians are “useless”.

Allout.org has a petition, which has quickly gathered 100,000 signatures, which is directed to ‘world leaders’ and which they plan to deliver to Foreign Ministries around the world.

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32 more reader comments:

  1. Fuck, no. This has to be reversed.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 7:55pm
  2. terrible. and, again, we have ppl in power linking LGBTs to pedophilia. just great…

    Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 7:55pm
  3. Well that sure is a step backwards.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 7:56pm
  4. Isn’t it wonderful the way they lump relationships between consenting adults with pedophilia.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 7:56pm
  5. again….

    Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 7:57pm
  6. Whelp.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 7:58pm
  7. AUGH!!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 7:58pm
  8. It will never get better in Russia, well maybe in 30 years… Maybe

    Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 7:59pm
  9. typical homophobic rucckis! what a crock of SHIT man! scared of their own dicks!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 8:00pm
  10. Fuck them. And fuck their hate.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 8:01pm
  11. Are you freaking serious? “Gay propaganda”? There is no such thing as “gay propaganda”. Comparing us to pedophiles when they know most are married heterosexuals who are the pedophiles! What the hell is that? Bastards obviously can’t comprehend the difference between consensual and non-consensual sex.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 8:01pm
  12. so much for glasnost.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 8:05pm
  13. Damn……. The word Soviet will be back soon too I guess!! ;(

    Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 8:08pm
  14. This is some fucked up bullshit!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 8:16pm
  15. Mail them gay pornography.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 8:20pm
  16. @Susan Luna: Hetalia fan? <3 Anyway, I’m very disappointed in Russia. There’s nothing wrong with being attracted to the same gender or kids (well, as long as the pedo doesn’t act on it and hurt them). Here I thought the world would be going forwards, not backwards.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 8:23pm
  17. This is so easy: Just come up with different names. Instead of gay, say snagglepusses.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 8:23pm
  18. I wish I had something more conducive to say,but I’m too pissed off

    Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 8:24pm
  19. It’s cool, they can all move to Minneapolis, we need some fresh faces on the Gay Scene here : )

    Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 8:48pm
  20. Sad >:(

    Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 9:08pm
  21. Wow…just plain ridiculous..it makes me laugh how ignorant these ‘anti-gay’ people are. Instead- please focus on something that is actually productive in this world such as helping starved poor families. My God.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 10:08pm
  22. Lmao. Guess I wont be visiting…sadness I always wanted to see the beautiful St. Petersburg… was even willing to give cops vodka. lol

    Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 10:31pm
  23. in SOVIET RUSSIA GAYS BAN YOU

    Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 11:29pm
  24. i live in this town, in Russia. It is awful. We hate our country. Our government. And, fuck, they are serious!

    Posted on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at 12:25am
  25. Scary times. How sad.

    Posted on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at 2:58am
  26. Where can I find the NOT LIKE button on http://www.facebook.com!?

    Posted on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at 4:53am
  27. another step backwards

    Posted on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at 4:56am
  28. Seriously?

    Posted on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at 8:18am
  29. Dear Russia… Seriously, I thought politicians have something in their heads, but it seems the vodka is speaking. How about you stop wasting time on discriminating gays and go look for the real F*ckers that hurt children.

    Posted on Thursday, November 24, 2011 at 10:59pm
  30. Ugh while in some places in the world we move closer to equality for all, the usual places decide to move further away from progress.

    Posted on Saturday, November 26, 2011 at 10:24pm
  31. I’m appalled. Truly appalled.

    And once again, WHY is pedophilia even being mentioned within the same vicinity as homosexuality?

    Russia’s actions disgust me.

    Posted on Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 7:11pm
  32. Homosexuality – an attraction to people of the opposite gender.

    Pedophilia – an attraction to prepubescent children.

    How the hell do people get the two mixed up??? They are two completely different things!

    Posted on Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 7:21pm