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Russia's 'gay propaganda' law causes outrage abroad but finds support at home

Published time: August 05, 2013 21:09
Edited time: August 06, 2013 08:35

Men empty bottles of Russian vodka filled with water into the gutter during a news conference in West Hollywood (Reuters / Jonathan Alcorn)

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Russian vodka goes down the drain as gay activists in the US protest against a Russian law dubbed by Western media as "anti-gay." Meanwhile, the law "against promoting homosexuality to minors" finds support in traditional Russia.

The Russian legislation passed on June 30 was met with cries of outrage and calls by gay activists for a determined response. Demonstrators around the US  have joined the LGBT community on the weekend by dumping vodka into the street calling for a ban of all Russian food and drink in protest to what they call ‘Russia's anti-gay laws.’

The law sparked concerns in the Western media, with some speculating that it prohibits ‘holding hands’,  according to ABC Good Morning America, or that the ‘offenders face jail sentences’, according NBCNews.

Meanwhile, the law is not about punishing people for being homosexual, but rather it intends to keep minors from being influenced by non-traditional sexual relationship propaganda and it will be enforced with fines, but not criminal punishment.

A recent survey carried out by Russia’s Independent Levada Center in July shows that the overwhelming majority of Russians do not support non-traditional sexual orientation. The poll conducted regularly returns almost identical results each time.

Men empty bottles of Russian vodka filled with water into the gutter during a news conference in West Hollywood (Reuters / Jonathan Alcorn)

The General Director of the Centre for political information Aleksey Mukhin told RT that Russia is still a very traditional and conservative country.

The Head of Moscow Pride and a gay activist Nikolay Alekseev said to RT’s Anissa Naouai that “of course [the law] will not have a wide range of practice of being applied everywhere and on everyone.”

“You cannot say that there is massive suppression or massive attacks against gay people on the streets. And that whenever you say that you are gay you will be killed or beaten,” Alekseev  added.

However, Russian gay activists are intending to take a case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) claiming that the law is meant to target specific individuals.

Martin Andrews, a British national who is openly gay has been living in Russia for eight years. He calls the Russian gay community “thriving” and “excitable.”

“I think if you compare America, for example, you can’t look at San Francisco and Los Angeles and New York and then look in the middle part, Texas. That’s what Russia is, especially Moscow . You’ve got the old meets new,” he said.

For more on gay rights in Russia watch RT’s Anissa Naouai's report. 

Bottles of Russian vodka are placed on an LGBT-themed American flag during a news conference in West Hollywood (Reuters / Jonathan Alcorn)