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Russia poised to pass sweeping anti-gay law

The Russian Parliament has passed the first reading of a bill banning “propaganda of homosexualism”


Katie McDonough
January 25, 2013 10:16PM (UTC)

Russia's lower house of Parliament, the Duma, has overwhelmingly backed a bill that would ban “homosexual propaganda.”

Approved by a vote of 388-1-1, the law -- pushed by the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church -- would make public events and sharing "propaganda" about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community with minors punishable by fines of up to $16,000.

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The legislative definition of propaganda is exceedingly broad, and could mean anything from television shows with gay characters to two women kissing on a street corner. Also on the list? Madonna and Lady Gaga. As reported by Reuters:

Anti-gay propaganda laws are already in place in Arkhangelsk, Novosibirsk and St Petersburg, Putin's home city, where it was used unsuccessfully to sue American singer Madonna for $10 million for promoting gay love during a concert last year.

Although a court rejected that case, a local politician from Putin's ruling Untied Russia party has said he is taking similar action against another singer, Lady Gaga, who is also a defender of lesbian and gay rights.

"Such widespread propaganda of homosexuality negatively affects the formation of a child's personality, blurs its ideas of the family as the union of a man and woman, and in fact creates grounds for limiting the freedom of choice of sexual preferences when it grows up," the law's backers said in a written defense of the legislation.

After three readings by Parliament, the bill will likely be signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.

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Over the weekend, LGBT groups protested the proposed legislation in both Voronezh and Moscow. What began as a peaceful "Kiss-In" ended in violence as anti-gay demonstrators attacked the protesters:


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Gay Gay Rights Lgbt Russia Video Vladimir Putin

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