Legislators for the Russian city of St Petersburg are considering new laws designed to prohibit gay “propaganda”.
The draft law introduces fines for what it terms the “propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism and transgenderism, to minors” and “propaganda of paedophilia”.
Fines range from a minimum of 1,000 roubles (£20) for an individual to 50,000 (£1,000) for a business.
Polina Savchenko, General manager of LGBT organization Coming Out, Russia told LGBT Asylum News: “By combining homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexuality into one law with sexual crimes against minors, members of the Legislative Assembly indulge in gross manipulations of public opinion. Their goal – to pass an anti-democratic law, directed at severely limiting human rights in St. Petersburg.
“In the name of ‘public interest’, members of the Legislative Assembly decided to ignore the Federal law, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention for Human Rights, Council of Europe Recommendations and other decrees by international organizations, of which Russia is a member. However, no public discussions were held.
“It is also obvious that adoption of this law violates interests and rights of minors. Russia leads the world in the number of teenage suicides, and ignoring the issues of sexual orientation and gender identity can lead to tragic consequences.”
“This bill is absurd, both in terms of legal logic, and in terms of plain common sense. So what is the real goal? It is clear that adoption of this law would impose significant limitations on the activities of LGBT organizations.
“Organizers of public events cannot restrict access of minors to any open area; people under 18 can be there just by chance. Consequently, it makes any public campaigns aimed at reducing xenophobia and hate crime prevention impossible.”
Two other local legislatures introduced similar laws this year.
According to a 2005 poll, 43.5% of Russians supported the re-criminalisation of homosexual acts between consenting adults.
In June of this year, Russian police arrested 14 gay rights campaigners in St Petersburg. The city is Russia’s second largest, and its former capital.