Russia Moves to Ban 'Homosexual Propaganda'

In a bid to clamp down on Western values

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jan 22, 2013 4:52 PM CST

(Newser) – Kissing his boyfriend during a protest in front of Russia's parliament earned Pavel Samburov 30 hours of detention on a charge of "hooliganism." But if a bill that comes up for a vote later this month becomes law, such a kiss could be deemed illegal "homosexual propaganda" carrying a fine of up to $16,000. The legislation being pushed by the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church would make it illegal to provide minors with "propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism." It includes a ban on holding public events that promote gay rights.

St. Petersburg and a number of other Russian cities already have similar laws on their books. The bill is part of an effort to promote traditional Russian values as opposed to Western liberalism, which the Kremlin and church see as corrupting Russian youth and by extension contributing to a wave of protest against President Vladimir Putin's rule. The move has been met mostly with either indifference or open enthusiasm by average Russians. Levada polls conducted last year show that almost two-thirds of Russians find homosexuality "morally unacceptable and worth condemning."

In this 2009 file photo, a gay rights activist is detained by a police officer  in Moscow, Russia.
In this 2009 file photo, a gay rights activist is detained by a police officer in Moscow, Russia.   (Alexander Zemlianichenko)
In this 2012 file photo, police officers detain gay right activists during a protest near the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, in Moscow.
In this 2012 file photo, police officers detain gay right activists during a protest near the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, in Moscow.   (Misha Japaridze)
In this 2011 file photo, a boat carrying a rainbow flag sails on the Neva River during a gay rights rally in St. Petersburg, Russia.
In this 2011 file photo, a boat carrying a rainbow flag sails on the Neva River during a gay rights rally in St. Petersburg, Russia.   (Dmitry Lovetsky)
Russian gay right campaigners kiss during a protest near the State Duma, Russia's lower parliament chamber, in Moscow, Russia, Dec. 19, 2012.
Russian gay right campaigners kiss during a protest near the State Duma, Russia's lower parliament chamber, in Moscow, Russia, Dec. 19, 2012.   (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze, file)
In this 2009 file photo, Irina Fedotova-Fet, right, and Irina Shipitko are trying to register their marriage at a court in Moscow, Russia.
In this 2009 file photo, Irina Fedotova-Fet, right, and Irina Shipitko are trying to register their marriage at a court in Moscow, Russia.   (Ivan Sekretarev)
In this 2011 file photo, Russian police officers detain a gay rights activist during an attempt to hold a gay pride parade in Moscow, Russia.
In this 2011 file photo, Russian police officers detain a gay rights activist during an attempt to hold a gay pride parade in Moscow, Russia.   (Mikhail Metzel)
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