Gay pride fines will now be doled out against homosexuals in Russia who spread “gay propaganda,” a decision many activist groups believe could essentially ban all pubic displays of homosexuality.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will sign a law banning what the lower house of parliament calls gay propaganda. Shortly after the gay pride fines were passed, several activists were detained for holding a kissing protest.
The gay pride fines are not yet set in stone. They still must be approved by Russia’s upper house of parliament and signed by Putin, but both are expected to come.
The legislature essentially makes displays of homosexuality illegal. The specific language bans the spread of “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations,” or any relations “not conducive to procreation,” for anyone under age 18.
The law seems intentionally vague, leading to what will likely be a wide-ranging ban of gay pride parades and even popular culture. Some of the Communist leaders argued that Elton John’s clothing choices would qualify as “gay propaganda,” and said Madonna would be cited for promoting homosexual causes in her music.
Russia has struggled to accept homosexuality, which was only decriminalized in 1993. Anti-gay sentiment remains high, as was seen in a recent attack on a gay man.
The 23-year-old man was found naked in the courtyard of an apartment building in the southern city of Volgograd. He suffered numerous injuries across his body and genitals and authorities said he had been sodomized with several beer bottles.
Though Russian officials rarely admit hate crimes, they said the man was clearly targeted for his homosexuality.
“He was raped with beer bottles and had his skull smashed with a stone,” Natalia Kunitskaya, a spokeswoman for the Volgograd region branch of the Investigative Committee, told AFP.
Russian officials have legislated against homosexuality. The house recently passed a measure to ban gay couples from adopting.
The gay pride fines could cost individuals up to 5,000 rubles ($156). Media organizations can face fines up to 1 million rubles ($31,000).