By Jase Peeples
Originally published on Advocate.com June 11 2013 12:15 PM ET
Russian lawmakers today approved antigay legislation that would ban LGBT events or public discussion of LGBT issues that might be accessible to minors, reports The Washington Post.
The so-called gay propaganda bill passed in the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s Parliament, by a 436-0 vote. One member, Ilya Ponomaryov, abstained.
Individuals who break the law by holding LGBT Pride events or providing information to minors about the LGBT community would face fines of up to 5,000 rubles ($156), with foreigners facing a jail sentence of 15 days and deportation. Companies and media organizations could be fined up to 1 million rubles ($31,000) and would face suspension of their activities for up to 90 days
Though the measure still needs to be approved by Parliament’s upper house and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin, it is expected to pass easily.
“This is a very sad day for the Russian LGBTI community and for Russian democracy. Today the Russian Parliament cemented its homophobic law at the federal level,” Martin K.I. Christensen, cochair of ILGA-Europe’s executive board, said in a press release. “Despite strong condemnation by virtually all international and European institutions and human rights organizations, Russian lawmakers have chosen to disregard their international human rights commitments and to ignore their own constitution. Today the Russian Duma demonstrated that homophobia is an official state policy.”
Shortly before the bill was passed, over two dozen protesters were attacked by a group of antigay activists and then detained by police.
The scene mirrored events from earlier this year. In January, Orthodox Christian protesters threw objects LGBT rights advocates who were protesting the State Duma’s preliminary approval of the bill. Nonetheless, when police intervened, most of the roughly 20 demonstrators they detained were from the LGBT group.
The bill is being touted by the Russian Orthodox Church as a part of a nationwide movement to reject Western liberalism and promote traditional Russian values.
“Russia is trying very hard to make discrimination look respectable by calling it ‘tradition,’ but whatever term is used in the bill, it remains discrimination and a violation of the basic human rights of LGBT people,” Human Rights Watch LGBT rights program director Graeme Reid said in a statement.
The following photos depict the events that unfolded today outside the State Duma near Moscow’s Red Square.
Russian gay rights activists shout during their protest action outside the lower house of Russia's Parliament.
Police officers detain gay rights activists.
Former Advocate editor Masha Gessen (center) and other Russian gay rights activists protest outside the lower house of Russia's Parliament.
Russian gay rights activists kiss each other outside the lower house of Russia's Parliament.