Just days after publicly saying that gay and lesbian Russians are "not discriminated against in any way," President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill banning so-called homosexual propaganda throughout Russia.
The law, which was passed unanimously by both houses of Russia's Parliament, imposes a fine of up to 5,000 rubles ($168 USD) for any citizen who shares information discussing "non-traditional sexual relations" with minors that might cause a "distorted understanding" that gay and lesbian relationships are "socially equivalent" to heterosexual pairings, reports Russia's RIA Novosti. The fines increase if the person disseminating the "propaganda" is a state or legal official, rising all the way to 50,000 rubles ($1,530 USD) for an official promoting such information to children.
Any individual using mass media or the Iinternet to share information about LGBT identities can be subject to fines up to 100,000 rubles ($3,050 USD), while officials are subject to fines twice that amount, and legal entities face a 1 million ruble fine or 90-day suspension for discussing LGBT people.
President Putin said last week that the bill aims to protect children from "harmful" information about the existence of nonstraight sexuality. He also responded to international criticism that Russia is propagating an antigay climate by telling the international community "not to interfere in our governance."
Over the weekend, LGBT activists in St. Petersburg were arrested as they attempted to hold an unsanctioned Pride parade. Police clashed violently with the demonstrators, arresting all 60 participants.