While Russia may act as host for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the country is far from ahead of the curve on civil rights issues, as Russian lawmakers have passed a bill that will ban people from informing children about homosexuality.
Rather than letting kids know that gay people exist, the people of Russia must instead not say a word about homosexuality, as lawmakers unanimously voted 436-0 in the State Duma with one abstention to pass the bill banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.”
Human rights activists protested the decision, which still has to go through the Federation Council and then be signed by President Vladimir Putin, but many protesters were arrested.
The general consensus is that this bill will almost certainly be passed as a law.
The protestors were not the only activists on site, however, as hundreds of anti-gay and religious activists showed up, shoving and punching the gay activists, even drenching them in urine.
A total of 20 people were arrested between the two sides.
Lawyer Nikolai Alekseyev, a gay rights activist, has stated he will file a lawsuit against State Duma deputies Vitaly Milonov and Yelena Mizulina for perpetuating hatred and hostility toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.
Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, but violence against gays has run rampant in the years with little justice for the victims.
The bill approved will result in fines ranging from $150 to $31,000 for those who inform children about homosexuality.
“This is another step in the attack on the right to freely express your opinion, a right guaranteed by the constitution of the Russian Federation,” said Tanya Lokshina, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch.
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