Sunday, June 30, 2013

Putin Signs Virulently Anti-Gay "Propaganda" Bill Into Law

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a virulently anti-gay bill that would purportedly "protect minors" by banning "gay propaganda." The bill had previously passed the Russian legislature with almost no opposition, including near unanimity in the Duma, the lower House of Parliament, (436 to 0 with one abstention).

The Associated Press reports:
The lower house of Russia’s parliament unanimously passed the Kremlin-backed bill on June 11 and the upper house approved it last week.
The ban on ‘‘propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations’’ is part of an effort to promote traditional Russian values over Western liberalism, which the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church see as corrupting Russian youth and contributing to the protests against Putin’s rule. 
Hefty fines can now be imposed on those who provide information about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to minors or hold gay pride rallies. 
The Kremlin announced Sunday that Putin has signed the legislation into law.

The Washington Blade reports on opposition to the legislation and places its passage into the context of homophobia in Russia:
Putin signed the bill into law against the backdrop of growing concern over anti-LGBT discrimination and violence in Russia.
Two men in Volgograd and on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s Far East in recent weeks have been killed during what local authorities have described as anti-gay attacks.
The State Department, the European Union and retired tennis champion Martina Navratilova are among those who have criticized Russian lawmakers and Putin over their opposition to LGBT rights in the country.
[Nikolai] Alekseev [of Gay Russia, an LGBT advocacy group] ]and a growing number of other LGBT rights advocates have also called for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and the 2018 World Cup that will also take place in Russia.
“[They are] a very good opportunity to raise particular concerns,” Alekseev told the Blade earlier this month. “One of the ways for many countries would be to boycott these international sporting events because they take place in a country which doesn’t respect basic human rights.”

Gee, how many years behind the rest of the world is Russian on gay rights? 25 years? 30 years? Still thinking that telling kids about homosexuality or restricting access to information about gay rights will have any influence whatsoever on a child's sexual orientation isn't something I haven't thought about since the odious Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) and his "no promo homo" amendments in the mid 1990's or Margaret Thatcher's Tories supporting the infamous Clause 28 from the 1980's in Great Britain.

It will be very interesting to contrast the Winter Games in 2014 and World Cup in 2018 in an officially homophobic country like Russia with the World Cup in 2014 and Summer Games in 2016 in Brazil, which will have almost certainly enacted full marriage equality by then.

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