Moscow: Russia’s parliament on Thursday passed a bill that expands a ban on “LGBT propaganda” and restricts “demonstration” of LGBT behavior, making any expression of an LGBT lifestyle nearly impossible.
Under the new law, which still needs the approval of the upper house of parliament and President Vladimir Putin, any action or information deemed an attempt to promote homosexuality — in public, online, or in movies, books or advertisements – lead to a heavy fine.
Previously, the law had only banned the promotion of LGBT lifestyles aimed at children. The new bill also prohibits the “demonstration” of LGBT behavior to children.
Lawmakers say they are defending the traditional values of the “Russian world” against a liberal West they say is determined to destroy them — an argument also increasingly used by officials as one of the justifications for Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine .
Authorities have already used the existing law to stop gay pride marches and detain gay rights activists. Human rights groups say the new law aims to ban so-called “non-traditional” LGBT lifestyles practiced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people altogether from public life.
“LGBT is an element of hybrid warfare today, and in this hybrid warfare we must protect our values, our society and our children,” Alexander Khinstein, one of the bill’s architects, said last month.
Legal experts said the vagueness of the bill’s language leaves law enforcement officials room to interpret it as broadly as they like, leaving members of the LGBT community in a state of even greater uncertainty.