Russia’s parliament approved on Thursday (Nov 24) a bill that widens a prohibition of “LGBT propaganda” and restricts the “demonstration” of LGBT behaviour, making any expression of an LGBT lifestyle almost impossible.
Under the new law, which still needs the approval of the upper house of parliament and President Vladimir Putin, any action or information that is considered an attempt to promote homosexuality — whether in public, online, or in films, books or advertising — could incur a heavy fine.
Previously, the law had outlawed only promotion of LGBT lifestyles aimed at children. The new bill also bans the “demonstration” of LGBT behaviour to children.
Lawmakers say they are defending traditional values of the “Russian world” against a liberal West they say is determined to destroy them — an argument also increasingly being 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. Rights groups say the new law is intended to drive so-called “non-traditional” LGBT lifestyles practised by lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people out of public life altogether.
“LGBT today is an element of hybrid warfare 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.