Lawmakers in St. Petersburg, Russia, have tentatively approved legislation that would prohibit gay pride parades and any public event or discussion dealing with LGBT issues that could be observed by minors.
The Moscow Times described the bill as "curiously equating such acts to promotion of pedophilia." LGBT activists called it "medieval," and legal experts thought it vulnerable to court challenges, but proponents said it is, if anything, insufficiently harsh. "The rising popularity of sexual deviations influences our children in a negative way," said its author, Vitaly Milonov.
The city's legislature passed the bill in a first reading Tuesday with a vote of 37-1, with one abstention. It needs to pass two more readings, which have not been scheduled.
Igor Kochetkov of the LGBT group Vykhod said the legislation "smacks of the Middle Ages" and called it a ploy to increase the popularity of the United Russia political party in advance of the state election December 4. Activists staged a series of one-person pickets, the only form of public protest that doesn't require government permission, on Tuesday. They also said they would ask the European Court of Human Rights to intervene.