Despite a bill banning so-called homosexual propaganda that passed Russia's lower house of Parliament unanimously last month, President Vladimir Putin contended Tuesday that there is no antigay climate in Russia. In fact, the Russian leader channeled antigay American icon Anita Bryant in saying that silencing LGBT people saves children from the evils of homosexuality.
When asked about the bill, which imposes fines of 1 million rubles ($30,000) for "promoting homosexuality toward minors," Putin told reporters that LGBT people "are full-fledged members of our society and are not being discriminated against in any way," according to Russian news outlet RIA Novosti.
"It's not about imposing some sort of sanctions on homosexuality," continued Putin. "It's about protecting children from such information. Certain countries … think that there is no need to protect [children] from this. … But we are going to provide such protection the way the State Duma lawmakers have decided. We ask you not to interfere in our governance."
The lower house of Parliament, the State Duma, passed the antigay bill June 13. To become law, the legislation must be approved by parliament's upper house, the Federation Council, and signed by Putin.