Russia: Newspaper editor fined under anti-gay law for printing ‘being gay is normal’

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A Russian newspaper editor has been fined 50,000 roubles (£860) under the ‘gay propaganda’ law for printing that “being gay is normal”.

Alexander Suturin, the editor-in-chief of newspaper Molodoi Dalnevostochnik, was found guilty of breaking the law, as the article propagated “homosexual relations”.

In being found guilty, his newspaper became the first media outlet to have been found in breach of the law.

Last September the newspaper printed an interview with Alexander Yermoshkin, a teacher fired for being gay, in which he talked about his dismissal, his attack by a neo-Nazi group, and involvement in LGBT demonstrations.

The prosecution said the piece had broken “traditional family values” to promote “genderless and fruitless so-called tolerance”.

The fine was half of the maximum possible, and is over three times the average monthly wage in the region. The newspaper also risked being shut down.

State investigators took offence specifically at one quotation said by Mr Yermoshkin: “My very existence is effective proof that being gay is normal.”

While sentencing, the judge said that the statement is “contrary to the laws of logic”, and could lead them to believe “serial killers” are also normal.

The editor had used the defence that the article shows the negative sides of being gay in Russia, and cited constitutional provisions outlawing discrimination.

President Vladimir Putin signed into law a bill targeting “non-traditional” relationships last year.

Individuals found guilty of violating the “gay propaganda” law can be fined up to 100,000 rubles (£1720), while legal entities face a maximum penalty of 1 million rubles.

Broadway stars recently released a sketch video in which ‘Russian Broadway’ is shut down due to the law.