Russian Duma Approves Move Against LGBTQ Rights

Legislation prohibits 'gay propaganda' in ads, art
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 24, 2022 3:55 PM CST
Russian Duma Approves Move Against LGBTQ Rights
In this handout photo, Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin attends a session of the State Duma on Thursday in Moscow.   (The State Duma, The Federal Assembly of The Russian Federation via AP)

Russian lawmakers on Thursday gave their final approval to a bill that significantly expands restrictions on activities seen as promoting gay rights in the country, another step in a yearslong crackdown on the country's embattled LGBTQ community. The new bill expands a ban on what authorities call "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" to minors, established by legislation dubbed the "gay propaganda" law, the AP reports. It was adopted by the Kremlin in 2013 in an effort to promote "traditional values" in Russia. This year, the lawmakers moved to ban spreading such information to people 18 and older.

The bill was approved in the third and final reading on Thursday by the State Duma, the lower house of parliament. It will go next to the upper house, the Federation Council, and then to President Vladimir Putin, whose signature will give it legal force. The new bill outlaws all advertising, media, and online resources books, films, and theater productions deemed to contain such "propaganda," a concept loosely defined in the bill. The 2013 ban was often enacted against any depictions of same-sex unions and used as a tool to crack down on LGBTQ rights groups and activists.

Violations are punishable by fines. If committed by nonresidents, they can lead to expulsion from Russia. The fines range from $1,660 to $33,000. For some violations, foreigners could face 15 days' detention prior to expulsion. The bill does not make violations a criminal offense; Russian law stipulates that the criminal code can be amended only through an independent bill. Some lawmakers have suggested they favor such a measure. Russia explicitly outlawed same-sex marriages in 2020 by adopting amendments to the country's constitution that, among other things, stipulated that the "institution of marriage is a union between a man and a woman."

(Read more Russia stories.)

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