MOSCOW (HPD) — Russian lawmakers preliminarily approved a bill Thursday that imposes tough new penalties on activities promoting the rights of the LGBTQ community in the country.
A 2013 law prohibited what Russian authorities call “propaganda” of “non-traditional sexual relations” to children. It has been used to suppress debate in any public context and to prevent demonstrations or any concentration with LGBTQ content that could be seen or heard by a minor.
International human rights groups denounced the legislation for creating a hostile environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender-fluid people in Russia.
The new rule, which Russia’s lower house of parliament unanimously approved in the first of its three readings, tightens restrictions by banning “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” entirely, not just among those under 18.
Also, ban commercials, media and online resources, books, movies and theatrical productions that are considered to have such propaganda.
With respect to minors, the new rule expands existing restrictions to prohibit information on gender transition.
Violations will be sanctioned with fines and, if committed by non-residents, could lead to their expulsion from the country.
State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin said the proposal could be further toughened during the second reading, when lawmakers table their amendments.