LGBT Rights Group Challenges St. Petersburg "Propaganda" Law

BY Advocate Contributors

April 03 2012 6:55 PM ET

The law
banning so-called gay propaganda in St. Petersburg, Russia, has been
challenged in the city’s court. The St. Petersburg–based LGBT advocacy group
Coming Out says it filed a challenge to the law Monday on constitutional
grounds.

The challenge cites the vagueness of the terms “propaganda,” “bisexualism,” “transgenderism,”
and “traditional and nontraditional family relationships.” Not defining
these terms opens up the law to extraordinarily broad interpretation, it
argues. So broad in fact, that the organization points out that technically even
mentioning the existence of homosexuality could result in a fine of up to $16,000 for individuals.

In a statement
issued by the group, it also argues that while the law aims to protect children
from homosexual “propaganda,” it actually opens many children up to increased
social intolerance, teaches a lesson of inequality, and promotes hatred of
difference.

Coming Out has
called for a “Week Against Homophobia” in the city. Challenging the new law is the
first step in the week-long campaign. “There is nothing immoral in the
information that there are different sexual orientations and different families,”
said Mikhail Belodedov, coordinator of the Week Against Homophobia. “That
is why we don't mean to cut our activities in any way. We are not going to put
up with the laws that are in contradiction to the knowledge of modern science
and offend hundreds of thousands of St. Petersburg citizens.”

(RELATED:
Our expose, titled “Russia’s Closet,” details the U.S. origins of the new
antigay law in St Petersburg.)
 

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