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Russian Prime Minister criticizes Duma, gay ‘propaganda’ law

Friday, December 6, 2013
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MOSCOW — Former Russian president and current Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Friday criticized the country’s lawmakers and recent passage of an anti-gay law, saying the Duma, Russia’s federal Parliament, has switched its focus from political bans to private life.

Dmitry Medvedev

Dmitry Medvedev

Medvedev told Russian journalist Marianna Maksimovskaya that a “gay propaganda” law passed last June and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin, and other recent initiatives to ban free abortions and children’s beauty pageants, serve only to “protect feelings of religious believers.”

Medvedev said the Duma “may offer exotic initiatives, but that does not mean that they should be supported.”

“In every parliament there have always been initiatives that are systemic, and others are exotic. They may be diverse. Some of them do not get any support. These initiatives are mentioned, but neither the executive authority, nor the president do not have anything to do with them,” he said. “They were formed by the parliament.”

Medvedev said that the Duma has their own ideas about morality “so sometimes they propose some quite peculiar initiatives… you know , it’s their attitude towards life.”

“It does not mean I endorse them. On the contrary, I am not a supporter of hypocritical approaches to life. I emphasize again, these are people who make decisions and formulate their proposals. They need to be treated with a certain respect, but that does not mean that they should be supported,” said Medvedev.

Last month, Russia’s highest court ruled that the controversial law banning “gay propaganda” is not in breach of that nation’s Constitution, and that the state is obliged to protect motherhood, childhood and family.

In addition to his duties as Prime Minster, Medvedev is a chairman of the ruling majority “United Russia” party, which voted in favor of the gay propaganda ban law.

Recent polling in Russia finds that the anti-gay law has significant support among Russian citizens. About three-quarters (77 percent) of Russians said homosexuality should not be accepted by society, 16 percent said it should be accepted, and 7 percent were neutral or had no opinion.

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