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Update: St Petersburg Passes Anti-Gay Law

Update: St Petersburg Passes Anti-Gay Law

Russia’s second city has passed a law banning so-called ‘gay propaganda.’

The law, which has been rushed through the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly, prohibits so-called propaganda of ‘sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism and transgenderism, and pedophilia to minors.’ The bill was introduced by Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party.

The law has drawn worldwide protest, however it has yet to be condemned by any Western governments.

In St Petersburg itself there have been protests. At one on Sunday, protesters held up signs saying “I am gay, a human, not propaganda. Milonov [the law's legislative proponent], do not be afraid! ” and “I am a lesbian – do not be afraid of me, Babich!” On Saturday at the NGO Forum of the Nordic countries and Russia in St Petersberg activists took over the rostrum — to the applause of some delegates and silence from the Russians and many others (see video).

The St Petersbupeterg law has been widely reported in Russian media.

Two regions of Russia — Arkhangelsk and Ryazan — have previously passed the same law, which have been deemed constitutional by Russian courts despite the chilling effect on free speech and the attack on LGBT organizing and  their ability to protest.

Polina Savchenko, General Manager of LGBT organization Coming Out, Russia, described the law as “absurd, both in terms of legal logic, and in terms of plain common sense.”

“So what is the real goal?” she asked. “It is clear that adoption of this law would impose significant limitations on the activities of LGBT organizations. Organizers of public events cannot restrict access of minors to any open area; people under 18 can be there just by chance. Consequently, it makes any public campaigns aimed at reducing xenophobia and hate crime prevention impossible.”

“In the name of ‘public interest,’ members of the Legislative Assembly decided to ignore the Federal law, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention for Human Rights, Council of Europe Recommendations and other decrees by international organizations, of which Russia is a member. However, no public discussions were held.”

UK Gay News points out that on November 7, the United Kingdom took over the Chairmanship of the Council of Europe for six months.

Russia is a member of the Council of Europe and both the Council and its European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly found against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Moscow’s bans on gay pride demonstrations have been before the court and the first anti ‘gay propaganda’ law in Ryazan is also due to come before it. However, Russia has previously paid any fines but refused to actually make any changes.

Says UK Gay News:

In the Committee of Ministers during the handover from Ukraine, British Foreign Minister William Hague MP said that the UK Chairmanship will work to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity across Europe.

“Too many people still suffer outdated prejudices, discrimination and violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” he told the Committee of Ministers.  “We will work with the secretariat and our partners in the Committee of Ministers to improve all member states’ performance in this area.”

So, over to you Mr. Hague.  The repressed LGBT community in Russia needs help.

According to a 2005 poll, 43.5% of Russians supported the re-criminalization of homosexual acts between consenting adults.

The City of Moscow is reportedly considering a similar ‘gay propaganda’ law and there are reports of discussions about a federal Russian law.

Related stories:

Moscow Now Proposing Anti-Gay Law

Russian Gay Activist Attacked While Police Look On

Russian Politicians Ban ‘Gay Propaganda,’ Hire Trans Prostitutes

Read more: , , , , ,

Image of St. Petersberg gay demo, broken up by police and attacked by fascists, source GayRussia

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32 comments

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8:00AM PST on Nov 26, 2011

The law is horrible.What about the Western countries that haven't protested the law?

10:40PM PST on Nov 24, 2011

Thanks for the article.

7:17AM PST on Nov 24, 2011

In this barbaric country called Russia people live and suffer of human-right deprivation. It's not so awful as at the Soviet times, but still very sad.
I'm bisexual, I live in Russia and it feels totally awful to be equaled to pedophiles!
I suppose it's pedophiles-in-law provided this law to draw off attention from themselves and to prove that anti-pedo actions are really taken in Russia. God damn them.

6:10AM PST on Nov 24, 2011

JUST wait for Putin to be back....you have not seing anything yet!

4:55AM PST on Nov 24, 2011

A class in RESPECT AND RESPONSIBILITY should be taught from Grade one to graduation, children should be taught that anything is permissible as long as it does not hurt themselves or anybody else. Common sense would dictate that if children are taught at a very early age that every child has their own strengths and weaknesses and that they should use their strengths to help not tease or bully others.
Later on Sex Education should be taught from Contraceptives, Masturbation,LGBT and all forms of sex. Let us face it whether we like it or not children are curious and are having sex earlier and earlier. They should be taught the joys and the consequences of having sex ( Pregnancy,STD, AIDS ) But you say when will this be taught. Cut out Geography or History early on then put it back in and remove Geometry and Algebra. They can learn this in college if need be. I believe this is a solution. Nipping it in the Bud so that Bullying, Sexual Assault, and many others will be greatly diminished if not eradicated. It is my belief that when children graduate with these principals where they are taught RESPECT for themselves and others and to take RESPONSIBILITY for their actions. Within a few generations this world would be a much better place to live in.

2:14AM PST on Nov 24, 2011

Please, Do Not Feed The Troll. Russia's history was completely changed when the future country was taken over by the Mongols. It's awful what has happened.

Since I don't have a Delorian with a flux capacitor, we work to change this in the now. Writing, not accusing but expressing sadness and hope. Consider that Russia is at a stage that could be considered pre-pre-pre-Stonewall. Maybe we can get things to a Stonewall state in less than 50 years.

2:23PM PST on Nov 23, 2011

How stupid of one of the more attractive cities in Russia to take a chunk out of their tourist trade.

2:07PM PST on Nov 23, 2011

Another update:

http://allout.org/russia_silenced/taf?akid=387.571636.sHRuhl&rd=1&t=2

The decision to pass the law has been postponed until the 30th - sign the above petition!!

1:30PM PST on Nov 23, 2011

Two steps forward, one step back.

12:54PM PST on Nov 23, 2011

Steve R is so deprived of brain cells that he can't write his own lines anymore. Here's one for you Steve:
It's better to shut your mouth and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubts. Mark Twain
At least quote the author when you copy!
Russia does not care about human rights. Here's another country - with China - that I'm not interested in visiting. Too barbaric.

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