LGBT Community Threatened By New Russian Laws
The LGBT community is being threatened in Russia as proposed nationwide legislation would further limit their rights. Additionally, any homosexual related offenses would be met with harsh punishment.
The bill which will be voted on in the next months would define such “offenses” as kissing in public places a crime that would carry a fine of up to $16,000. Legislation would define the offense as “homosexual propaganda.” The proposed bill would also ban the LGBT community from distributing any informational materials to minors.
The push for new law is an effort by the Kremlin and Russian Orthodox church to maintain traditional Russian values and stop the spread of Western Liberalism. As reported by Time, a movement promoting Western liberalism is seen as a corruption of Russian minors. Additionally they see it as tool to encourage further protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The proposed law, which would ban any public protest of gatherings of the LGBT community, is strongly opposed by gay-rights activists. One such organization, the Rainbow Association, hopes to raise awareness about the proposed bill.
Pavel Samburov, leader of the Rainbow association had a very personal reason for starting the organization. He and his boyfriend were detained for 30 hours, for kissing. The charge is currently considered “hooliganism.” If the new law passes, the men could be fined up to $16,000 for the same offense. Samburov contends that the new laws would threaten the entire LGBT community.
The proposed laws will be enacted nationwide, they mirror existing laws in several Russian cities. As reported by The New York Times, similar laws were passed in St. Petersburg last year:
“Under the new law, which passed 29 to 5, ‘public actions directed at the propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism among minors’ will be punishable with fines of up to $17,000. The law defines propaganda of homosexuality as ‘the targeted and uncontrolled dissemination of generally accessible information capable of harming the health and moral and spiritual development of minors,’ particularly that which could create ‘a distorted impression’ of ‘marital relations.’”
Critics of the legislation fear that the proposed laws would threaten Russia’s entire LGBT community with persecution, and will strip them of their human rights.