The High Representative for the European Union has condemned a Russian draft law, which woud make the “promotion” of homosexuality illegal, and urged the country to “protect” the rights of gay people.

On Friday, the Russian State Duma adopted the first reading of a homophobic censorship bill which would impose federal sanctions for the promotion of “gay propaganda”.

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, Catherine Ashton, today released a statement condemning the legislation and pushing Russia to drop it.

She said: “The implementation of this law could reinforce discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals,  transsexuals and intersex people as well as all those who support them and their choices, in  particular by limiting their freedom of expression and their freedom of association and assembly.

“The High Representative calls on the Russian Federation to uphold its national and international commitments – in particular in the framework of the Council of Europe as a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights – to protect the enjoyment of these rights by all individuals.”

The draft law, submitted in March 2012, details that the “promotion of homosexuality” among children could warrant fines of 4,000-5,000 rubles (£85-105) for individuals, 40,000-50,000 rubles (£850-1050) for officials, and 400-500,000 (£8,500-10,500) rubles for businesses.

Similar laws have already been passed regionally in ten different areas of Russia, but this bill would impose the law nationwide.

388 members of the state Duma voted for the bill, one voted against, and one member chose to abstain. 60 others did not vote.

In December, the European Parliament adopted two resolutions calling on Russia and Ukraine to abandon their LGBT censorship plans.