A leader in the Russian Orthodox Church has asked the government to adopt a nationwide ban on the promotion of gay rights, according to the Associated Press. The governing body of St. Petersburg — Russia’s second largest city — approved similar legislation in February, and it was signed into law yesterday.
Father Dmitry Pershin, head of the church’s youth council, said such a law should be enacted nationally “without delay.”
Groups violating the new law face fines up to $33,000 for the promotion of gay rights, the AP reports, including gay pride events and public announcements by LGBT groups, even though Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993.
Andre Banks, executive director of international advocacy organization AllOut.org, criticized St. Petersburg governor Georgiy Poltavchenko following his approval of the bill.
“By validating a new regime of censorship and intolerance, Governor Poltavchenko has diminished the reputation of his city with the stroke of a pen,” Banks said in a Monday statement.