Today is not a great day to wake up gay in Russia: The country's lower house yesterday passed a bill that stigmatizes gay people and bans giving children any information about homosexuality. How it passed is nearly as notable as what it contains: By a vote of 436-0, with a single abstention, reports Reuters. The bill bans the "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" and makes holding gay pride rallies a crime punishable with a $156 fine. The bill still needs to be passed by the upper house and signed into law by Vladimir Putin, but the AP reports that both are expected to happen. What else you should know:
- Before the vote, gay-rights activists attempted to hold a "kissing rally" outside parliament in central Moscow. What they got for their troubles: pelted with rotten eggs and homophobic slurs by some 200 anti-gay protestors who yelled "Russia is not Sodom." Most of the two dozen protesters who were detained were gay-rights activists.
- Reuters notes that the bill would essentially nationalize what is already law in a number of cities, among them St. Petersburg.
- It wasn't the only bill that passed in a landslide yesterday: Legislation that makes offending religious feelings a crime punishable by up to three years in prison sailed through the State Duma 308-2. It was introduced on the heels of the Pussy Riot conviction.