Russia rejects bill to punish hand-holding and coming out with jail
A Russian Duma committee has rejected a bill which would have made coming out to young people and kissing in public punishable with jail sentences.
The Russian Duma was set to vote this week on a measure which would ban all public displays of affection between same-sex couples.
The legislation suggested punishments for same-sex couples who are caught kissing or holding hands in public, or those who come out to young people, from 5000 ruble fines to two-week prison sentences.
According to the RBC News Agency, the Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building rejected the bill.
The agency said the committee rejected the legislation “primarily due to the fact that from a formal legal perspective, the bill was illiterate.”
Russia has been criticised for cracking down on the rights of LGBT people since it passed a law banning the promotion of “non-traditional sexual relations” to minors.
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The previous law was signed by President Vladimir Putin in 2013.
This latest bill was introduced by Ivan Nikitchuk, a Communist party MP.
“Homosexuality is a huge threat to every normal person, which can affect children or grandchildren,” Nikitchuk said.
However, the ban would only apply to men, as Nikitchuk told a Russian radio station at the weekend that “women are more reasonable”.
Polina Andrianova, of the St Petersburg LGBT rights organisation Coming Out told BuzzFeed News: “When this draft bill was initiated, it was so incredibly absurd that we were hoping it was going to be one of those initiatives that didn’t get any attention.
“But the fact that it’s scheduled for the first reading is a pretty bad sign.”
Going on, she said the bill, and its debate, could encourage anti-gay violence further.
She said: “It will give more of a green light to people who are willing to discriminate [and] to beat people up.”