Russia: Putin signs anti-‘gay propaganda’ bill into law

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An official publication has reported today that President Vladimir Putin has signed into law an anti-“propaganda” bill targeting non-traditional relationships, which was recently approved by both house of the Russian Parliament.

The upper house of the Russian Parliament voted on 26 June to approve the nationwide bill banning the promotion of “non-traditional” relationships to minors, with 137 votes in favour and one abstention.

Earlier this month the Duma, or lower parliamentary house, voted 436-0 with one abstention for the law.

President Putin’s signature means “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” will be 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.

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.

LGBT rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev said: “History will prove that (Putin) made a mistake that the future generations are unlikely to forgive.” He said the law would be appealed against in the European Court of Human Rights.

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”.

Yesterday dozens of gay rights demonstrators were arrested in St Petersburg after attempting to hold a gay pride rally, which was deemed to have broken the city’s anti-propaganda laws.