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St. Petersburg latest Russian region to propose anti-gay law

LGBT Asylum News
Monday, November 14, 2011

St. PETERSBURG, Russia — Two regions of Russia – Arkhangelsk and Ryazan – have passed laws banning what they call gay “propoganda.” The laws 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.

Now the St. Petersburg region wants to introduce a similar law.

Polina Savchenko

The proposed law, introduced 11 November in the legal committee of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly prohibits so-called propaganda of ‘sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism and transgenderism, and pedophilia to minors’. The bill was introduced by Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party.

Says Polina Savchenko, General manager of LGBT organization Coming Out, Russia:

“By combining homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexuality into one law with sexual crimes against minors (pedophilia), members of the Legislative Assembly indulge in gross manipulations of public opinion. Their goal – to pass an anti-democratic law, directed at severely limiting human rights in St. Petersburg.”

“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.”

“It is also obvious that adoption of this law violates interests and rights of minors. Russia leads the world in the number of teenage suicides, and ignoring the issues of sexual orientation and gender identity can lead to tragic consequences.”

“This bill is absurd, both in terms of legal logic, and in terms of plain common sense. So what is the real goal? 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.”

St. Petersburg is home to numerous groups: The only interregional LGBT organization “Russian LGBT Network“; the largest grassroots LGBT organization Coming Out; the LGBT festival Side by Side; and other LGBT groups.

Savchenko believes that the LGBT movement in Russia has become now become so noticeable that “the homophobic government can no longer ignore its existence. The state attempts to destroy LGBT organizations using legal framework and to discredit them in the minds of the people.”

She suggests that there is a real possibility that such a law will follow on the Federal level.

Lithuania in 2009 pass a law to ‘protect minors’ banning “propaganda of homosexual, bisexual or polygamous relations”. After an outcry from its fellow European Union members this was amended to a “ban to spread information that would promote sexual relations or other conceptions of concluding a marriage or creating a family other than established in the Constitution or the Civil Code” and a ban on information that “profanes family values”. The Lithuanian government claimed it wasn’t discriminatory but since coming into effect the law has only been used once and that is to try to ban the Vilnius Gay Pride in 2010.

The Ukrainian Parliament is proposing establishing a criminal liability for “propaganda of homosexualism”.

Meanwhile, the website GayRussia is polling readers on whether on not to ‘out’ closeted but anti-gay Russian public figures.

The former mayor of Arkhangelsk recently alleged that politicians in the region use transgender prostitutes and that some members of the regional assembly, which has banned ‘gay propoganda’, are gay.

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Filed under: Europe

14 more reader comments:

  1. Glad I visited St. Petersburg before they decided to expose their bigotry.

    Posted on Monday, November 14, 2011 at 7:14pm
  2. That is why these backward idiots will always be three steps behind the rest of the world. Get a clue you stupid thugs.

    Posted on Monday, November 14, 2011 at 7:16pm
  3. why are sum of ur viewers clicking “like” for this!!??

    Posted on Monday, November 14, 2011 at 7:16pm
  4. Putins a goddamned turnoff anyway…

    Posted on Monday, November 14, 2011 at 7:31pm
  5. Disappointed in those places, Ryazan and Arkhangelsk.

    Posted on Monday, November 14, 2011 at 7:34pm
  6. I guess that’s another country that I can write off my list to visit one day.

    Posted on Monday, November 14, 2011 at 7:55pm
  7. they are grasping at the old ways/comfort zone/statusQ but that dog don’t hunt & learn that EVERYONE IS EQUAL in life and in law.need to open eyes and minds.and most likely hoping like hell the one’s incharge don’t tip their hand & let on just how powerful it’s citizens REALLY are when joined in a united force

    Posted on Monday, November 14, 2011 at 8:25pm
  8. It is so sad, they got Democracy before they were ready and as a whole traded that for better times on the surface. The LGBT family and other minorities will suffer as always.

    Posted on Monday, November 14, 2011 at 8:26pm
  9. Don’t let our government fool you, if the Far Right had it their way we’d be silenced within our Free and Open Civil Society.

    Posted on Monday, November 14, 2011 at 8:41pm
  10. Not to surprising. St Petersburg held their 3rd International Queer Festival in September, 2011 without incidence. Pride, a political event is a tougher cookie and attracts a lot of attention.

    Posted on Monday, November 14, 2011 at 9:26pm
  11. So much for glastnost in their own country…how sad

    Posted on Monday, November 14, 2011 at 10:09pm
  12. And this is why Russia has such a bad reputation. Idiots…

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 1:24am
  13. The Russians, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, and residents in St. Petersburg should attack any politicians who vote for these laws. Other citizens in other countries should also attack citizens of Russian, Ukraine, Lithuania, etc. in their own countries. Start with embassy personnel.

    Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 9:41pm
  14. Shame on Russia for their bigotry and close-mindedness. It is not because of the poverty that their nation is struggling, but because of hate. This hate is destroying and eating you from the inside. Glad you won’t last long…

    Posted on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 12:31pm