News (World)

Russia proposes new law to criminalize ‘coming out’ as gay

 A Russian gay rights activist walks along a police line during a 2014 rally in Moscow.
A Russian gay rights activist walks along a police line during a 2014 rally in Moscow. Alexander Zemlianichenko, AP (File)

Russian lawmakers are drafting a bill that would impose fines or jail time for “coming out” as gay.

Citing a report Friday in the state-owned newspaper Izvestia, Newsweek reports the bill would criminalize making a “public confession of their non-traditional sexual orientation.”

The bill is intended as an amendment to the already controversial law banning “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors. The lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, passed the original law in 2013 that has been labelled “a tool of discrimination [that] legitimizes anti-LGBT violence” by Human Rights Watch.

According to the proposed amendment to the law, people who are defined as having “non-traditional sexual orientation” could be fined 5,000 roubles ($80) for “demonstrating [their] own expressed sexual preferences in public places.” If the same is done in schools, cultural establishments or government buildings, this would be punishable by up to 15 days in jail.

First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Natural Resources Ivan Nikitchuk, one of the bill’s authors, said homosexuality is “a huge threat to every normal person, which can affect children or grandchildren, and thus interrupt the race.”

In September, Russian President Vladimir told CBS News that foreign media had “deliberately exaggerated” reports of anti-LGBT hate crimes in Russia, and that there was “no persecution at all” in his country.

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