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Offensive against LGBTQI people, new areas of censorship and criminalization

HRWF (23.07.2022) – Russian lawmakers have proposed extending a ban on the promotion of “non-traditional” sexual relationships among minors to now include adults as well, a senior legislator has said.

Russia’s existing “gay propaganda” law, passed in 2013, has been used to stop gay pride marches and detain LGBTQ rights activists.

Under the proposed changes to the law, any event or act regarded as an attempt to promote homosexuality could incur a fine.

Authorities say they are defending morality in the face of what they argue are un-Russian liberal values promoted by the West. Human rights activists say the law has been broadly applied to intimidate Russia’s LGBTQ community.

President Vladimir Putin has aligned himself closely with the Orthodox Church – which rejects same-sex relationships – and has made its social conservatism part of a narrative of Russian political and cultural revival that is now also being used to help justify the invasion of Ukraine.

A new constitution enacted in 2020 that extended presidential term limits also defines marriage exclusively as the union of a man and a woman.

In a ranking of Europe’s most LGBTQ-friendly nations in this year’s “Rainbow Europe” index compiled by ILGA-Europe, Russia came third from last.

See below the position of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Bill banning propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations submitted to State Duma

Interfax Religion (18.07.2022) – http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=16628 – A bill promoting the propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations in Russia has been submitted to the State Duma.

The document was published in the State Duma legislative database on Monday.

The bill envisages a ban on the dissemination of information aimed at promoting non-traditional sexual relations.

The bill also adds to the current legislation on the film industry a regulation that establishes a direct ban on the issuance to movie theaters of screening certificates for any cinematographic materials that allow the propaganda of denial of family values and non-traditional sexual relations.

The authors of the program are a group of deputies from the Communist Party and A Just Russia – For Truth factions and Deputy Andrey Zhuravlyov.

According to the memo, they said the propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations has become widespread in today’s Russia. At the same time, “public approval and recognition of such relations is dangerous not only for children and young people, who are not capable of treating such information, which appears to them via public access every day, critically yet, but also to society as a whole, as it, in a certain way, jeopardizes demographic and economic growth issues in the future,” the authors said.

“A ban on such propaganda as activities aimed at the deliberate and uncontrolled dissemination of information capable of harming the health, moral and spiritual development, including forming distorted ideas of the social equality of traditional and non-traditional sexual relations among people, including those who cannot independently critically assess such information due to their age, cannot be regarded as violating citizens’ constitutional rights,” the bill said.

Russia plans to ban propaganda of non-traditional relations for everyone regardless age

Interfax 11.07.2022) – http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=16620 – Propaganda regarding non-traditional relations will be banned in Russia for everyone regardless of their age, State Duma Information Policy, IT and Communications Committee head Alexander Khinshtein said.

“Such a ban [on propaganda regarding non-traditional sexual relations] currently only applies to children. Of course, that is clearly not enough. We suggest generally applying the ban on such propaganda regardless of the age of the audience (offline, in the mass media, on the Internet, on social networks, and also in online movie theaters),” Khinshtein said on his Telegram channel on Monday.

He also said it has been proposed to introduce administrative liability for such propaganda, expanding Article 6.21 of the Code of Administrative Offences (it currently applies only to propaganda among minors and envisages a fine in the amount of up to one million rubles, 15 days of arrest, and suspension of the operations of a legal entity).

It is also envisaged to introduce a separate, even tougher liability for the propaganda of pedophilia.

It is also proposed to “ban the dissemination among children not only of propaganda, but also any other information demonstrating non-traditional sexual relations and perversions,” the parliamentarian said.

“These initiatives have already been tentatively coordinated with [Russia’s telecoms watchdog] Roskomnadzor and the Digital Development Ministry,” Khinshtein said.

The State Duma Information Policy Committee has started working on these initiatives, and “we will be ready to discuss them publicly in the fall session,” he said.

Earlier in July, State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin proposed to ban propaganda regarding non-traditional values.

LGBT propaganda among minors is currently banned in Russia. A bill banning this propaganda overall has been submitted to the State Duma.

 

Photo credits: Anton Vaganov/Reuters

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