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Russian parliament approves anti-gay bill, dozens of protesters detained

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

MOSCOW — A bill that stigmatizes Russia’s gay community and bans the distribution of information about homosexuality to children was overwhelmingly approved by the lower house of parliament Tuesday.

More than two dozen protesters were attacked by anti-gay activists and then detained by police, hours before the State Duma approved the Kremlin-backed legislation in a 436-0 vote.

The bill banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” still needs to be passed by the appointed upper house and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin, but neither step is in doubt.

Ivan Sekretarev, AP
Police officers detain gay rights activists as they gathered near the State Duma, Russia’s lower parliament chamber, in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, June 11, 2013.

Ivan Sekretarev, AP
An anti gay right activist (center, in blue shirt), grapples with a pro gay rights activist outside the State Duma, Russia’s lower parliament chamber, in Moscow on Tuesday.

Ivan Sekretarev, AP
Detained gay rights activists shout from a police bus near the State Duma, Russia’s lower parliament chamber, in Moscow on Tuesday.

The measure is part of an effort to promote traditional Russian values as opposed to Western liberalism, which the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church see as corrupting Russian youth and contributing to the protests against Putin’s rule.

The only parliament member to abstain Tuesday was Ilya Ponomaryov, who has supported the protest movement to the aggravation of the leadership of his pro-Kremlin party.

Before the vote, gay rights activists attempted to hold a “kissing rally” outside the State Duma, located across the street from Red Square in central Moscow, but they were attacked by hundreds of Orthodox Christian activists and members of pro-Kremlin youth groups. The mostly burly young men with closely cropped hair pelted them with eggs while shouting obscenities and homophobic slurs.

Riot police moved in, detaining more than two dozen protesters, almost all of them gay rights activists. Some who were not detained were beaten by masked men on a central street about a mile away.

The legislation will impose hefty fines for providing information about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, community to minors or holding gay pride rallies. Breaching the law will carry a fine of up to 5,000 rubles ($156) for an individual and up to 1 million rubles ($31,000) for media organizations.

After the bill was given preliminary approval in January, lawmakers changed the wording of “homosexual propaganda” to “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations,” which backers of the bill defined as “relations not conducive to procreation.”

Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993, but anti-gay sentiment remains high. Russia also is considering banning citizens of countries that allow same-sex marriage from adopting Russian children.

Earlier Tuesday, dozens of anti-gay activists picketed the Duma. One of them held a poster that read: “Lawmakers, protect the people from perverts!” while others held Orthodox icons and chanted prayers.

Russian and foreign rights activists have decried the bill as violating basic rights.

“Russia is trying very hard to make discrimination look respectable by calling it ‘tradition,’ but whatever term is used in the bill, it remains discrimination and a violation of the basic human rights of LGBT people,” Graeme Reid, LGBT rights program director at Human Rights Watch, said Tuesday in a statement.

Russian officials have rejected the criticism. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov defended the bill in February, saying that Russia does not have any international or European commitment to “allow propaganda of homosexuality.”

The widespread hostility to homosexuality is shared by much of Russia’s political and religious elite.

Lawmakers have accused gays of decreasing Russia’s already low birth rates and said they should be barred from government jobs, undergo forced medical treatment or be exiled.

An executive with a government-run television network said in a nationally televised talk show that gays should be prohibited from donating blood, sperm and organs for transplants, while after their death their hearts should be burned or buried.

The bill’s adoption comes 20 years after a Stalinist-era law punishing homosexuality with up to five years in prison was removed from Russia’s penal code as part of the democratic reforms that followed the Soviet Union’s collapse.

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57 more reader comments:

  1. So sad. Such ignorance & hate in this world.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 8:33am
  2. I’d say that Russia is slipping back into the Stone Age but even during the Stone Age nobody cared who you loved.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 8:36am
  3. Guess I won’t be traveling to Russia

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 8:38am
  4. Like in an islamic country. Although, orthodox and radical islamists are same.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 8:38am
  5. That’s a real shame.. there is a special place in hell waiting for all these hate filled people around the globe..

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 8:38am
  6. sad and pathetic as if doing this shows how moral they are,when in reality there just a bunch of bigoted shitheads.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 8:39am
  7. Outrageous shame.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 8:41am
  8. Disgusting

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 8:43am
  9. Shameful.They take a step in the right direction after the fall of the Berlin wall.Now two decades after that Russia starts to devolve into it’s subhumanity allover again. Shame indeed.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 8:45am
  10. YOU KNOW WHAT COME TO ME I PROTECT YOU THIS IS STUPID LAW AND IS VERY RETARDED THEY DO IT B/C ITS SICK GAME THEY THINK THEY CAN PLAY AND USE TARGETS WHERE NOT DAMN TARGETS

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 8:46am
  11. These are the True Warriors of Equality and the Equality of our LGBT community they are the honorable valiant fighters for justice and Equality we are so proud of and whom inspire us Worldwide! No wonder Mr Putin feels threatened they and our fight for Equality go against Everything Russian under this despot regime stand for, true Equality and Justice for ALL ! ;o)

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 8:49am
  12. And it’s kind of surreal to think that Russia and Alaska’s mainlands are only about 55 miles apart!

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 8:58am
  13. sad, sad, sad

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 9:03am
  14. Just another of the hundreds of reasons not to visit PutinLand..ever!

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 9:05am
  15. A witch hunt is coming to Russia. Do we still offer open asylum for persecuted Russians?

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 9:08am
  16. Sanction them at the UN!

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 9:09am
  17. And we thought the wall was permanently down Fascists in suits. ..

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 9:09am
  18. Boycott russian products

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 9:10am
  19. Again..hate revails

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 9:13am
  20. This is disturbing. Russia is in a descending spiral to fascist theocracy

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 9:14am
  21. Putin divorcing his wife tells the story

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 9:18am
  22. ha………..atheistic society….righteousness without the power there of…….no love no life….no peaceful society!

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 9:53am
  23. This is just another reason Russia sucks…. America the beautiful :)

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 10:21am
  24. Well, there goes my trip to Russia =/.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 10:36am
  25. this is so sad i am disgusted. When will the day be when i wont have to say FOR MY PEOPLE and we only say WE THE PEOPLE

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 10:40am
  26. dark age. lots of people cared who you loved back then.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 11:21am
  27. fucking retarded Russian people…..!!!!!!:(

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 11:45am
  28. I just threw up a little in my mouth.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 11:50am
  29. Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 2:39pm
  30. Immigration from Russia by gays and lesbians will require political asylum.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 2:57pm
  31. Boycott Russian products and travel.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 9:25pm
  32. Moscow is the most Ignorant city in the world we just human beings

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 9:25pm
  33. In Soviet Russia, we no think of human rights.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 9:28pm
  34. Besides Rev. Janine’s suggestion, how else can we bring real pressure to bear on the Russians? I don’t think we buy that much from them, and we are also probably not their biggest tourism market. Good ideas anybody?

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 9:42pm
  35. Despicable Russia!!! They don’t deserve to have the Olympics now. I say boycott the Olympics and let Russia SUFFER!!!! Damn Bastards…

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 9:48pm
  36. I’m so sorry Russia.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 9:49pm
  37. Sad

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 9:51pm
  38. Very sad…don’t they know it’s 2013????!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 9:52pm
  39. Boycott all Russian products…all they came from this redneck country!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 10:04pm
  40. - This is what happens wherever religion and political power are in bed with each other. Putin is bolstered by the Russian Orthodox Church, and he panders to their prejudices in good old fascist fashion. ‘Orthodoxy’ = bigotry, wherever it holds temporal sway.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 10:08pm
  41. Horrible. Soviet countries, as a whole, need to get with the rest of Europe when it comes to gay rights.

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 10:56pm
  42. ЛГБТ активистов было где-то 25-30, а гомофобов очень много. На кануне в социальной сети видел объявление для этой массовки за 300 рублей. Продажные шлюшки (простите за грубость)

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 11:25pm
  43. I always thought many Europe countries are gay-friendly or at least are tolerant of gays…it just a great leap backward for the Russians…

    Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 11:25pm
  44. Looks & feels like Communism is returning!

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 12:35am
  45. Why do I foresee t.A.T.u. getting back together soon?

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 12:44am
  46. Russia sucks

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 3:02am
  47. so sad for the LGBT community in Russia.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 3:44am
  48. :(

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 4:30am
  49. Is not Russia, ITS RELIGION AGAIN!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 4:30am
  50. no it’s Russia

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 4:38am
  51. It is amazing that a party (communism) in Russia that most of our US conservative religious fanatics demonizes and is accusing Obama of being is carrying out their agenda. Such as they did in Uganda. It is correct in demonizing this kind of oppression. Which is the fruit of the lie. Now should organizations like Westboro Baptist Church show discernment of them selves. They shouldn’t even be tax exempt because they show no benefit to the people. If God hates LGBT individuals then why does satan hate them as well.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 5:39am
  52. Sick

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 7:42am
  53. Petition to boycott the 2014 winter Olympic Games held in Russia! If they don’t want western liberalism to be a part of their country, they shouldn’t need to pander for our money by building rises and resorts to reap the benefits of the western liberal economy!

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 7:57am
  54. Dislike!

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 8:04am
  55. sucks…

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 9:30am
  56. Russia and religion haven’t quite been on the same terms since Russia outlawed it and started actively persecuting worshipers. So no, probably not religion.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 10:20am
  57. Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 11:55am