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:
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.