MOSCOW (HPD) — Russian lawmakers on Thursday gave final approval to a bill that significantly expands restrictions on activities considered to promote gay rights in the country, another step in a years-long crackdown on the LGBTQ community. in Russia.
The new bill extends the prohibition of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors. The Kremlin adopted the so-called “gay propaganda law” in 2013 in an effort to promote “traditional values” in Russia.
This year, lawmakers took steps to ban the dissemination of such information to people over the age of 18.
The bill was approved in its third and final reading on Thursday by the State Duma, the lower house of Parliament. It will then go to the upper house, to the Federation Council and then to President Vladimir Putin, whose signature will give it legal force.
The new law bans all advertising, internet media and resources, books, movies and theatrical productions that may contain such “propaganda”, a concept loosely defined in the bill. The 2013 ban was often used against any depiction of same-sex unions and used as a tool to crack down on LGBTQ groups and activists.
Violations are punishable by fines. If committed by non-residents, they could be expelled from the country. Fines range from 100,000 to 2 million rubles ($1,660 to $33,000). For some infractions, foreigners could face 15 days of detention before expulsion.
Violations will not be a criminal offence. Russian law stipulates that the penal code can only be changed by a separate bill. Some legislators are in favor of such a measure.
Russia explicitly banned same-sex marriages in 2020 with constitutional amendments that, among other things, stipulated that “the institution of marriage is the union between a man and a woman.”