Russia Moves To Tighten Curbs Under "Gay Propaganda Law": Key Things To Know

The draft bill proposes to tighten already stringent restrictions imposed on the LGBTQ issues by a 2013 law.

Russia Moves To Tighten Curbs Under 'Gay Propaganda Law': Key Things To Know

Homosexuality was a criminal offence in Russia until 1993. (Representative Photo)

Russian parliamentarians have introduced a bill to expand the scope of a 2013 law that bans the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations to minors. The bill has been introduced by a group of cross-party legislators and proposes to ban public discussion of LGBTQ (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) relationships in a positive or neutral light, and any such content in cinemas. The draft bill has been posted on the website of Russian Parliament, or Duma. Under the proposed changes, any event or act regarded as an attempt to promote homosexuality could incur a fine.

Widely referred to as the "gay propaganda" bill, it seeks to tighten already stringent restrictions imposed on the LGBTQ issues. The 2013 law has been used to stop gay pride marches and detain gay rights activists.

Here are key things to know about the draft bill:

  • Alexander Khinshtein, the head of the State Duma's information committee, said on a Telegram channel, "We propose to generally extend the ban on such propaganda regardless of the age of the audience (offline, in the media, on the internet, social networks and online cinemas)", according to Al Jazeera.
  • The proposal comes weeks after Russian parliamentary speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said that it will be able to ban the promotion of "non-traditional values" since the country has quit the Council of Europe human rights watchdog after invading Ukraine.
  • Homosexuality was a criminal offence in Russia until 1993 and was classed as a mental illness until 1999.
  • President Vladimir Putin has aligned himself closely with the Orthodox Church - which rejects same-sex relationships - and has made its social conservatism part of a narrative of Russian political and cultural revival that is now also being used to help justify the invasion of Ukraine.
  • A new constitution enacted in 2020 that extended presidential term limits also defines marriage exclusively as the union of a man and a woman.
  • In a ranking of Europe's most LGBT-friendly nations in this year's "Rainbow Europe" index compiled by ILGA-Europe, Russia came third to last.
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