Russian minister’s call for national version of St Petersburg’s anti-gay law was “only about paedophilia”

Stephen Gray December 2, 2011
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A press spokesman for the Russian deputy Prime Minister Dimitry Kozak has said his comments earlier today calling for a national law similar to the one being proposed in St Petersburg were misinterpreted.

St Petersburg is considering a law which would issue fines for the “promotion” of homosexuality, “lesbianism, bisexualism and transgenderism” and “paedophilia” to minors.

The law has only two sections, one on LGBT ideas and one on paedophilia.

Speaking in St Petersburg earlier today, Kozak was reported to have told press the bill would punish “disgusting activity”.

He added: “We should think about this topic on the federal level”.

But press secretary Ilya Dzhus said Kozak’s ire was not directed at the section on homosexuality but at the section on paedophilia.

He told Interfax today: “The question to Dmitry Nikolayevich Kozak was about his reaction to the ban on propaganda of paedophilia among minors”.

“He called that disgusting and called for a ban on any attempts to promote paedophilia, alone.”

Ironically, the bill has been heavily criticised for treating LGBT people in the same way as paedophiles.

Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, had said of the bill: “The attempt to conflate pedophilia, which is a crime, with homosexuality, is a disgrace and should be exposed for the insidious lie it is.

“The bill’s sponsors say they want to protect children, but the bill is really about making the LGBT community invisible.”

The city’s Governor, Georgy Poltavchenko, has said the bill would serve “general public morals”.

He added: “There is nothing more disgusting than propaganda of these things”.

Former St Petersburg Governor and current Speaker of the Russian Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko has said the government could consider a national law.

Last month, RIA Novosti reports Matviyenko saying she would have supported the St Petersburg law, adding: “I have not thoroughly studied the initiative, but if there is nothing that contradicts existing legislation, then it is fully possible that this law to be taken on to a federal level.”

Related topics: asia director, ban, bill, Europe, Homosexuality, human rights watch, Law, press, public morals, Russia, russian federation council, valentina matviyenko

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