The Russian Foreign Minister has defended a bill currently progressing through the State Duma which aims to criminalise “homosexual propaganda”, saying that Russia is well within its right to create such a bill under international laws.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met in a television conference with his Dutch counterpart Frans Timmermans on Tuesday.
On 1 February, Mr Timmermans criticised Russia’s proposed bill and claimed that it may have been contrary to Russia’s international obligations.
Mr Lavrov responded to Mr Timmermans and the UN on Tuesday by saying: “We don’t have a single international or common European commitment to allow propaganda of homosexuality.”
He argued that the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1993 meant that the LGBT community in Russia could “go about their business absolutely freely and unpunished”, but that the country was also bound by its own “moral, religious and historical values”.
The conservative Christian values shared by most of the country were put at risk by increasing the freedoms of the LGBT community, he argued.
Mr Lavrov claimed that LGBT Russians threatened the Christian majority with a “kind of discrimination when one group of citizens gets the right to aggressively promote their own values that run against those shared by the majority of the society and impose them on children”.
The bill has been criticised for its unclear limitations, which have raised concerns that people could potentially be fined for as little as kissing their same-sex partner in public, or giving pro-LGBT advice to young people.