Russia wants to make homophobic ‘gay propaganda’ law even worse

vladimir putin russian president
Image: Kremlin

Senior politicians in Russia have proposed expanding the country’s homophobic so-called “gay propaganda” law to include people of all ages – not just children – later this year.

In 2013, Vladimir Putin signed the existing legislation that bans any “promotion” of “non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors. Anyone found guilty under the law can be sentenced to heavy fines or imprisonment.

But Russian authorities have used the hateful laws to crack down on LGBTIQ+ events, detain human rights activists and censor LGBTIQ-themed content in the country.

Now Alexander Khinshtein, chairman of the State Duma’s information committee, has declared the 2013 law for minors is “insufficient”.

He said lawmakers would consider expanding the legislation further to ban depictions of LGBTIQ+ people for “audiences of all ages” in the media and online.

“We propose to fully extend the ban on that sort of propaganda among audiences of all ages (offline, media outlets, the Internet, social media, as well as in cinema theaters),” he wrote online.

Reuters reported that under the proposed changes, any event or act seen as an attempt to promote the LGBTIQ+ community to anyone could incur a fine.

Khinshtein explained his committee will consider the proposed amendments when they are back in session in the fall.

He flagged even stricter punishments for any violations of the so-called “gay propaganda” law.

Russia parliamentary speaker says LGBTIQ rights are ‘alien values’

Last week, Russia’s parliamentary speaker Vyacheslav Volodin also said after the country quit Council of Europe human rights watchdog, Russia would strengthen its bans on “non-traditional values”.

Russia withdrew from the Council of Europe in March in the wake of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Demands to legalise same-sex marriages in Russia are a thing of the past,” Volodin said, according to Al-Jazeera.

“Attempts to impose alien values on our society have failed.”

The country previously enacted a new constitution in 2020 that exclusively defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

In a recent ranking of Europe’s most LGBTIQ-friendly nations by ILGA-Europe, Russia ranked third-last.

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