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Russia passes anti-LGBTQ legislation criminalizing so-called gay propaganda



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Russia’s lower house of parliament has passed the third and final reading of a law banning the promotion of “LGBT propaganda” to children, expanding on an earlier law passed in 2013.

Under the latest package of laws, any attempt to promote homosexuality – whether in movies, books or advertising – could be subject to heavy fines.

The law is aimed at banning Russians from promoting or “glorifying” same-sex relationships, as well as having sex reassignment surgery or deeming these to be “normal”.

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Citizens who promote what the Duma calls “non-traditional sex propaganda” could be fined up to 400,000 rubles ($6,600), while organizations could risk 5 million rubles ($82,100). . Meanwhile, foreign nationals could face 15 days of arrest and deportation from the country.

Human rights activists say the new law is an attempt to further suppress sexual minorities in Russia, who have faced enormous challenges in a conservative society with a history of exclusion. stop gay pride marches and target LGBT rights activists with impunity.

Russian political activist Lucy Shtein said: “This is a law that prohibits the representation of a large section of society. “Combating the emergence of LGBTQ+ people does not affect the number of such people but only causes more suffering, forcing them to hide and hate themselves.”

Shtein said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made LGBTQ+ people more vulnerable because it is now much more difficult to evacuate Russian citizens who are being criticized by the authorities. Following Russia’s mobilization efforts, as well as foreign-imposed travel restrictions on Russian citizens following the invasion, freedom of movement and visa access have become much more difficult for foreigners. Russia.

Over the past year, the human rights situation in Russia has deteriorated, Shtein said, and the new law is “another nail in the coffin.”

“This war has shown that for this government any life can be destroyed and that its oppression is particularly affecting communities already vulnerable to war, including the LGBT community.”

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LGBT rights have become a scapegoat in President Vladimir Putin’s Russia, with many pundits linking them to “anti-Russian” values ​​promoted by the West. The legislators argue that they are defending morality against such “degenerate” values.

“LGBT [rights] today is an element of mixed war and in this mixed war we must defend our values, our society and our children,” Alexander Khinstein, one of the architects the bill’s attorney, said last month.

The bill will now be moved to the upper house of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council, before being signed into law by Putin.

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