Editor’s note: Since this article was first published, much has happened. See all our reports about Vladimir Putin and his war on gay people, and how Putin’s anti-gay laws are impacting the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (image, top right) today has just signed a draconian “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law, making the “promotion” of “homosexual propaganda” to minors illegal. The bill, which the Russian legislature passed on June 11 in a unanimous 434-0 vote and again June 26, literally now makes it illegal to tell children gay people exist, or that homosexuality is equal to heterosexuality, and provides for fines, jail time, and immediate deportation for those who violate the law. Putin’s signing of the bill into law comes just one day after police allowed anti-gay mobs to violently attack LGBT people and their supporters at a gay pride rally in St. Petersburg.
“I want everyone to understand that in Russia there are no infringements on sexual minorities’ rights,” Putin, who just divorced his wife of 30 years in favor of a mistress, reportedly a 30-year old Russian gymnast, claimed upon signing the bill. “They’re people, just like everyone else, and they enjoy full rights and freedoms.” Which, of course, is a false.
“The federal amendments expanded on a law that protects children from pornography and other ‘harmful information,” acording to Bloomberg News. “The bill prohibits the distribution of information intended to promote or spread ‘non-traditional sexual orientations’ among minors, or a ‘distorted conception of the equivalence between traditional and non-traditional sexual relationships.’”
The bill also prohibits the “obtrusive spreading of information about non-traditional sexual relationships that may arouse interest in such relationships.”
“Putin, who returned to the Kremlin for a third term as president last year, said in April that same-sex marriages don’t produce children and that Russia and Europe face demographic challenges from lower birth rates, though it’s his duty to protect the rights of people with ‘non-traditional’ sexual orientations,” Bloomberg News adds:
Putin violated Russia’s international obligations by signing the law, which will be challenged at Russia’s Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights, Nikolai Alexeyev, a Russian gay-rights activist, wrote in a statement on GayRussia.eu.
“By signing the law banning gay propaganda, President Putin may have won a local battle for the votes of his under-educated electorate,” Alexeyev wrote. “He lost the historical battle. History will prove that he committed a mistake that future generations won’t likely forgive.”
Opinion polls have shown limited tolerance among Russians for homosexuality. Last year, Moscow City Court upheld the city’s decision to ban gay-pride parades for the next 100 years.
Dozens of LGBT supporters were arrested in St. Petersburg yesterday after anti-gay protesters violently attacked them at sanctioned gay pride rally which included “violent scuffles between police and anti-gay campaigners,” Russia’s RIA Novosti news reports:
Media reports estimated that several dozens of LGBT activists came to the Field of Mars (Marsovo Pole) in the city’s downtown to rally for gay people’s rights in Russia. The event was attended by some 200 of anti-gay activists urging to ban the rally and throwing eggs at their opponents.
The climate for LGBT people in Russia is growing from bad to worse, and Putin’s new law will only serve to support more anti-LGBT violence and hate crimes.
Images from Saturday’s St. Petersburg, Russia Pride:
Image, top by Rusa LGBT via Twitter
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