Russian Duma passes law banning ‘LGBT propaganda’

Moscow, Nov 24 (EFE).- Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, on Thursday passed a law that bans “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations, pedophilia and information capable of inducing gender reassignment surgery” with hefty fines of up to 10 million rubles ($165,200) for violating the new rules.

In Thursday’s session, the Russian parliament approved the third and final reading of the new bill which will see citizens and companies face substantial fines for “disseminating information or public actions” relating to LGBT and gender reassignment propaganda, the Duma said in a statement cited by the Tass news agency.

The bill marks a significant tightening of existing laws, as it introduces new and much more significant fines to adults found guilty of sharing LGBT “propaganda” with minors.

In a second reading of the bill on Wednesday, the Duma introduced a series of amendments to the draft law to extend the scope of the bill to include pedophilia and gender reassignment.

The bill has been harshly criticized by LGBT rights groups with Amnesty International (AI) warning, after the first reading, that the new law will increase homophobia in Russia.

“The new draft ‘gay propaganda’ law not only brazenly deprives LGBTI people of their right to freedom of expression and endorses their discrimination, but will likely also lead to an increase in violent attacks and other hate crimes against them,” Amnesty’s director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Marie Struthers, decried in a statement.

Some 400 lawmakers, including Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin, took part in drafting the law, justified on Thursday by the lower house as a solution that will “protect our children and those who want to lead a normal life,” Volodin was quoted as saying by Tass.

The legislation, which will now go to the Senate, will ban the dissemination of information deemed as LGBT propaganda online, in the media, in commercials, literature and cinema.

Fines for LGBT propaganda will reach up to 100,000 rubles for citizens, a figure that could double if an official is caught disseminating banned content.

Companies could face a fine of 1 million rubles and the maximum fine for media and online outlets will be 5 million rubles.

Sanctions will be doubled for those caught sharing LGTBQ content with children.

The largest fines will be imposed on individuals sharing pedophilia propaganda with citizens facing sanctions of up to 400,000 rubles while companies could be handed a fine of up to 10 million rubles.

Foreigners and people without Russian citizenship will also be penalized and could even be expelled from the country. EFE


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