Russia has passed a law that subjects homosexuals to punishment for outwardly-gay behavior.
According to Travel and Escape, Russian president Vladimir Putin has signed a bill that fines everyone, including tourists, for “homosexual propaganda.” The law states that “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” is punishable by up to 200,000 rubles, or $6,240.
For extreme offenses of this nature committed by tourists, the government is permitted to detain outwardly-gay or outwardly-pro-gay foreigners for up to 14 days.
Travel and Escape reports that anything from pro-gay speeches, to same-sex hand-holding, to waving a rainbow flag is now illegal in Russia. The signing of the law may have been influenced by a recent performance by Elton John in southern Russia, whose stage outfits were deemed as “gay propaganda.”
Russian government broadcasting service Voice of Russia explained the law by claiming that any public display of affection from same-sex couples could cause a “distorted understanding” that homosexual relationships are socially acceptable.
Putin, on the other hand, said the law doesn’t discriminate against the LGBT population. Instead, it exists to “protect children from pedophilia.”
Russia will be the host of the 2014 Winter Olympics, and it’s quite likely that this new law will have a significant impact on the amount of visitors from the LGBT community looking to make watch the games.
Russia is one of the few major nations that still outlaws same-sex marriage, which is currently legal in 13 countries.