The international gay community has slammed a new law in St. Petersburg banning the promotion of a homosexual lifestyle among children.
Under the proposed legislation, promoting homosexuality will be punished with a fine from 1,000 rubles ($32) for individuals to 50,000 rubles ($1,630) for legal entities.
The draft law caused shock around the world: the international LGBT community launched an on-line petition in support of their Russian counterparts.
”This is a discriminatory and anti-democratic law,” the petition goes. “Russia’s ruling party could make millions of people invisible with the stroke of a pen.”
In Russia, numerous protest rallies followed the adoption of the legislation. On November 22, around 150 people gathered in St. Petersburg’s central square to voice their outrage. Although the demonstration was not dispersed by the police, some of the activists were fiercely beaten by aggressive youngsters who happened to be passing by.
“This draft law creates a threat for citizens’ rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association. We warn politicians against the use of right rhetoric and speculations about protecting children in their own interests,” St. Petersburg LGBT-organization said in a statement.
Officials, meanwhile, insist that the legislation has been largely misrepresented by the media.
“The bill doesn't touch upon the human rights of the LGBT community,” said the initiator of the bill, United Russia deputy Vitaly Milonov. “It deals purely with the direct propaganda among minors. Such propaganda is banned on the federal level and we as a regional body are only imposing sanctions.”