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Russian lawmakers propose extending ‘gay propaganda’ law

The current law bans content promoting homosexuality to minors in Russia.

By Emily Maskell

Words: Emily Maskell; pictures: Pexels

Russian lawmakers have put forward proposals to extend the current ‘gay propaganda’ law, to include adults.

The proposals would mean any event, act, or material regarded as an attempt to promote homosexuality would be banned and could incur a fine. Currently, such punishments only apply to content aimed at minors. 

Russia’s existing ‘gay propaganda’ law (officially the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating for a Denial of Traditional Family Values act) was passed in 2013, has been used to prevent Pride marches and detain LGBTQ+ rights activists.

Reuters reports Alexander Khinshtein – the head of the State Duma’s Information Policy, Information Technologies and Communications committee as saying: “We propose to generally extend the ban on such propaganda regardless of the age of the audience (offline, in the media, on the internet, social networks and online cinemas)” 

Parliamentary Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin has suggested that the timing of the proposal follows Russia leaving the Council of Europe (an international human rights watchdog that has often publicly condemned Russian leaders over their positions on LGBTQ+ equality) and starting a war in Ukraine. 

“Demands to legalise same-sex marriages in Russia are a thing of the past,” Volodin stated. He also said: “Attempts to impose alien values on our society have failed.”

A closeted gay man living in Moscow, Russia recently told Attitude: “As an LGBTQ+ person, I’m afraid, but I’m used to living with various risks.”

“I’m secretive about my sexuality at work, and apply a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy to all personal matters.”

Neither same-sex marriages nor civil unions of same-sex couples are allowed in Russia; as of 2020, the approval Constitutional amendment led to the banning of same-sex marriage.

The Attitude July/August issue is out now.