Scores of gay activists were attacked and arrested outside of Russia’s parliament yesterday during a "kissing protest."
They were protesting a bill that will ban "gay propaganda." The legislation makes it illegal to provide information about homosexuality to anyone under 18. Specifically, it would ban:
Spreading information aimed at forming non-traditional sexual behavior among children, suggesting this behaviour is attractive and making a false statement about the socially equal nature of traditional and non-traditional relationships.
Critics worry the bill would effectively make gay rights rallies illegal and that it would be used to prosecute anyone voicing support for homosexuals. Harold Maass of The Week reminds readers that Communist leaders have previously branded Elton John's outfits as "gay propaganda," and that an anti-gay group sued Madonna last year, "claiming she promoted homosexuality in a concert."
An individual violating the law could be fined up to 5,000 rubles ($156) but organizations could be fined as much as 1 million rubles ($31,000). The measure passed by a 436 to 0 vote, but it must still be approved by Russia's Upper House and signed by President Vladimir Putin. Both are expected to endorse it.
At yesterday's protest, Russian Orthodox extremists threw eggs, stinging nettles and urine at the gay rights activists. At least 20 people were imprisoned. Below, via Reuters, scenes from Moscow yesterday outside Russian parliament:
Youths kick a gay rights activist during a protest against a proposed new law termed by the State Duma, the lower house of Parliament, as "against advocating the rejection of traditional family values" in central Moscow June 11, 2013. Activists say the bill, backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin's allies in parliament, would prohibit all gay-rights rallies and fear it is fuelling violence against gays. Russian authorities say two recent murders were motivated by homophobia. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov