Russia: Federation Council passes anti-gay propaganda and adoption bills

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The upper house of the Russian Parliament voted yesterday to approve both a bill banning adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples and the nationwide anti-“propaganda” bill banning the promotion of “non-traditional” relationships to minors.

Earlier this month the Duma, or lower parliamentary house, unanimously voted 443-0 to approve the draft law on adoption, as well as related amendments to Russian family law. The bill bans foreign same-sex couples and unmarried individuals in countries where same-sex marriage is legal from adopting Russian children.

The Duma also voted 436-0 with one abstention for the law which bans “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations”, punishable by large fines, or imprisonment. Publishing information about same-sex relationship will warrant fines of 4,000-5,000 rubles (£85-105) for individuals, 40,000-50,000 rubles (£850-1050) for officials, and 400-500,000 (£8,500-10,500) rubles for businesses after being signed into law.

Following the Duma votes, the bills passed to the upper house, the Federation Council, for approval.

Yesterday a unanimous vote of 131 in favour was given to the adoption bill, while the anti-propaganda bill received 137 votes in favour and one abstention.

President Vladimir Putin is now set to sign the bills into law.

President Putin denied claims that gay citizens are being persecuted in the country. Speaking to reporters in Finland, Mr Putin said “homosexuals are equal citizens enjoying full rights” in Russia.

“It’s not about imposing some sort of sanctions on homosexuality…It’s about protecting children from such information,” Mr Putin said.

“Certain countries…think that there is no need to protect [children] from this…But we are going to provide such protection the way that State Duma lawmakers have decided. We ask you not to interfere in our governance,” he added.

The progress of the laws has caused outrage among Russian LGBT activists, as well as concerned parties around the world.

Human rights groups have criticised the anti-propaganda bill as “outrageous and incredibly dangerous”.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning the law. Labour MEP Michael Cashman said “hate speech from Putin and others” had resulted in “the barbaric killing of gay men”.