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Harley Quinn June 12th, 2013 4:30 AM

Russia to ban 'telling kids that gay people exist'

From the LA Times:

Despite opposition from human rights activists, Russia’s lower house of parliament Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would ban providing children with information on homosexuality.

The lower house, or State Duma, voted 436-0 with one abstention to pass the bill introduced by the pro-Kremlin United Russia political party banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.” The measure still needs to go through the Federation Council, or senate, and be signed by President Vladimir Putin, but is considered almost certain to become law, possibly by the end of June.

Before the vote, several hundred anti-gay and religious activists clashed with the dozens of gay activists and their supporters outside the State Duma, across from Red Square in Moscow, punching or shoving some gay activists and those that came to rally for them, and drenching others in urine. Twenty people were arrested.
This...this is utterly atrocious. The fact that this was a unanimous vote as well doesn't make me feel good at all.

seeker June 12th, 2013 4:38 AM

"In Unanimous Vote, Russia Passes Bill Making It Illegal To Tell Kids Gay People Exist"

I can foresee certain household conversations now...

"A magical fat man living on the inhabitable North Pole spends every day of his life in charge of a group of mystical elves who can create any toy that exists, and a number of flying reindeer, spends one night delivering presents to every child on the planet by flying from house to house and climbing down your chimney. He then proceeds to eat your cookies as that's the only payment he desires for this impossible task. All you need to do is send a written letter!


Cassino June 12th, 2013 8:30 AM

What's interesting is that it's unanimous. Makes me think, are politicians pressured to vote in-line with their party/group? I suppose that makes sense, actually, but — should they be? Is it one of the inherent flaws of representative democracy given human sociality?

I apologise if this constitutes a thread hijack, but I honestly don't see what can be said other than "hurr that's bad".

Pinkie-Dawn June 12th, 2013 8:52 AM

This is really atrocious; it's like passing a law to ban telling kids that evolution exists despite physical evidence. The next thing you'll know, they might pass a law to ban telling kids that sex makes babies.

ANARCHit3cht June 12th, 2013 9:13 AM

They can pass this into law, but I can't see it being very effectual. At some point, they are going to be in a situation where they realize that the "traditional" way is not the only way. They are going to witness Homosexuality in their life, so you might as well as just teach them about it. Give them a proper education, so that they actually understand it. When they don't, that is what leads to bad things to happen. This generation of kids, while it might not be their fault, I can see growing up to be relatively homophobic, which in turn, would only continue such behaviors as this. The law, should it pass, would be definitely be a step-backward, and I would hope that it gets repealed before too long. But like Cassino said, people are probably pressured into voting in line with their party. I could see that happening in a politically stuffy country such as Russia, which would only make opposition to such a measure all the more difficult. It's terrible, but that being said, there is not exactly much that we could do about it other than wait and see what actually happens. This is the type of thing that Russia will have to work out for themselves, otherwise they truly won't understand and will continue to oppose such things.

Esper June 12th, 2013 11:41 AM

This is sad. Russia doesn't seem to be all that better in the years since they gave up communism. It's certainly on my personal list of places I'm never going, not with all the things you read about in the news, what with the racism, etc.

Amore June 12th, 2013 12:25 PM

Yeah, the only way Russia's really improved is that you can get in and out of it without being suspected of espionage xD
Ridiculous as it is, the news of them passing this act didn't really shock me. If anything, Putin's getting worse as time goes on, I read somewhere he's basically staging a "show trial" at the some point in the near future, of political opponents I think. Might be journalists.

Imperishable June 12th, 2013 2:02 PM

I don't get there a major reason as to why this is happening? Not like you would instantly turn gay at first sight of hearing about homosexuality.

Also, they'll have to find out someday. It's like they're going to find 2 gay people, and they won't know what they're doing..they have to at least know what it is, and what use is it that you can't teach people about homosexuality if it's banned?

Amore June 12th, 2013 2:14 PM

Umm...the major reason is that Russian society is still homophobic. Eastern Orthodox Christians were harassing those protesting against the bill today for example. And as "homosexual propaganda" hasn't been defined very well, it's basically got the potential to censor the press by non-lethal means, as opposed to shooting journalists like that woman in the mid-2000s, etc. etc.

Yoshikko June 12th, 2013 3:43 PM

What's even the point of this? I didn't read the whole thing, but besides the fact that kids will probably find out themselves when they get older, what do they plan to do against people who tell their kids anyway? I just don't really see how this would work out, they can't exactly keep track of all of that. But yeah the fact that it passed (and with a unanimous vote at that) is pretty ridiculous.

Kanzler June 12th, 2013 6:19 PM

Well, goodbye communism. Funny thing is that homosexual people are allowed to donate blood, which is not possible in North America and many European countries (sometimes subject to deferrals). The ban was repealed as recently as 2008, by the way, which make these events even more confusing to me.

Anyways, these bans started appearing in 2006 and since spread to 10 regions before this nation-wide ban was considered. Maybe United Russia is turning on homosexuality as a way to deal with popular discontent over corruption, slowing economic growth and authoritarianism? I haven't found a single source analyzing just why they would pass this law at this time.

Dakotah June 13th, 2013 3:09 PM

Russia is an extremely homophobic country in which a very large percentage of people polled support either the automatic detention of gay people, conversion treatments for gay people, or death. It is a country that is now controlled by the orthodox church, and where a law has been passed to criminalize criticism of the church. Why anyone is even remotely surprised by the passage of this law that bans gay rights advocacy is a wonder to me. Russian society is not a tolerant society. It is an extremely xenophobic and paranoid one. Laws are even being considered to prohibit any citizen who is gay of a foreign country to adopt a child in Russia. I would not be surprised if it goes as far as re-criminalizing homosexual acts next. I challenge anyone to refute any of these points.

Results from the recent Levada Public Opinion Center poll:
  • 23 percent of those polled said they understood the concerns held by Russia's sexual minorities, and believed that they should be left to themselves, minimizing societal intervention in private lives.
  • 27 percent said that the society must provide 'psychological aid' to gay people.
  • 16 percent of those polled suggested that homosexuals should be isolated from society.
  • 22 percent said that the treatment of homosexuality must be made compulsory.
  • 5 percent said that homosexuals should be 'exterminated.'

Kanzler June 13th, 2013 5:53 PM

We've talked about vocal minorities before though, and I'm just wondering if we could apply that model here - that perhaps what we see in the news is not reflective of society's opinion as a whole, but of those who are able to seize the airwaves and the backing of those in power. I'm not saying Russian society is tolerant - it certainly is more homophobic than the West, but isn't the picture you're painting of Russia a bit ... extreme?

I for one, would be very surprised if homosexuality is recriminalized. It's one thing to be offended by "homosexual propaganda", but it's another to start throwing people in jail for things they do in private. This isn't a crackdown on homosexuality alone, it's part of an across-the-board suppression of human rights. It's just that it's better for United Russia if they can tie it to boosting the Church's image at the same time. Their laws to prevent gay people from adopting is clearly pure PR, much like American laws restricting free travel to Cuba, though the former is much more relevant. Objectively, that law doesn't change much to society, it's just a big loud statement.

From this perspective, I feel that the LGBT movement in Russia has been done a great disservice by activists like ***** Riot and kiss-in protests. It's not a smart move to offend one of the pillars of society and nationalism if your goal is to win the hearts and minds of the people. Politics isn't solely about the message, it's also about survival - so the LGBT movement really have to up their game in order to give the people they support the fight they need.

A small addition: The sources we have for the LGBT fight in Russia are really really scarce. I must've flipped from almost 10 google pages, and all of them had pretty much the same article. Furthermore, the articles now (June) had the some of the same passages as similar ones in January, when the bill was being drawn up/first presented in parliament (don't remember the details). Also, some of the January articles were titled "Russia votes to criminalize homosexuality" which is a blatant overstatement because nowhere, not even now, do I see mention of anybody touching sodomy laws. It is clear to me that the sources in Western, perhaps even English media, is simply of insufficient coverage and of poor quality. Are there any Russia "insiders" or Russia watchers that can give a more objective, detailed, boots-on-the-ground report of what's going on?

gimmepie June 16th, 2013 10:01 PM

@BahISuck - As you wish I'll visit this forum again for a bit xD

Anyway, I honestly can't help but feel that this is

a) A blatant disregard of human rights - but that's been gone into enough.


b) Unrealistic. The Russian government can censor the media but they cannot censor life. Children are going to see homosexual couples around them eventually and they are eventually going to discover homosexuality through whatever means. Hell, many of these children they are "protecting" will grow up and learn they themselves are homosexual. On top of that this whole situation being very much in the public eye will pretty much violate their own law.

Dakotah June 21st, 2013 9:13 AM

Now that they've almost passed this law, another Russian MP is demonstrating just how homophobic they can be:


Russia lawmaker wants gays caught and flogged in town squares

Alexander Mikhailov, Deputy of the Trans-Baikal provincial assembly, said he intends to advance a regional law that would see paratroopers catch gays in the streets and have them dragged to public squares where Cossacks will flog their ‘asses’.

Mikhailov praised a local physician criticizing the recent legalization of gay marriage in some countries in Europe, saying: ‘I would like to call upon all fair-minded people to look at this shame’

‘We have to deal with such things.

‘There should be a law where paratroopers will given the right to catch gays in the streets and drag them to town squares where Cossacks would lash their asses with whips.

‘In Russia for many centuries the ass was used for educational purposes and not for love entertainment. So we should use it according to its intended purpose,’ he told a local news agency today (20 June).

Commenting on the news, Russian LGBT rights advocate Nikolai Alekseev told Gay Star News: ‘There’s a real competition now in Russia in stupidity and absurdity.

‘Alexander Mikhailov, is Deputy of the Fair Russia party in the Baikal Lake province and no one has ever heard of him, but now he will spark a worldwide discussion.

‘In a similar way, Deputy Vitaly Milonov from St. Petersburg, achieved his near celebrity status when he initiated a local law banning so-called gay “propaganda”.

‘Homophobia is used in order to promote oneself in the news and headlines, for the personal PR of the politicians.

‘This is done to distract attention away from real social and economic problems of this country.

‘It only further discredits the regime and makes Russia a subject for jokes worldwide, discrediting the whole country.

‘So I suggest, for consistency’s sake, if Russian lawmakers want to introduce medieval laws, why stop at gay issues?

‘Let’s get fully medieval and have the hands of corrupt officials and deputies cut off for robbery.

‘This should be carried out in town squares to provide a spectacle like in other notable countries, like Iran.

‘I think many Russian officials and deputies will end up without their hands.’
So what's next in Russia? I still assert that if things keep going the way they are, Russia will regress until homosexuality is once again illegal in that country.

ANARCHit3cht June 21st, 2013 9:51 AM

Now THAT I cannot see passing. Even if Russia wants it, I do not the think the international community will think very highly. People already are condemning their for their actions, but if they took it an extreme like this, I'm imagining people would have problems with this. That would be akin to targeting someone for their Race or Religion, and was he have already decided in the past, that is a violation of human rights, so this would be too. I think people don't want to set any one off, so that is the only reason that no one is really challenging Russia's choice, but some lines just shouldn't be crossed and I would only hope other countries would get involved.

Kanzler June 21st, 2013 9:58 AM

This sounds remarkably like stupid things we sometimes criticize members of the Republican party of saying. Nod once and move on. It's clear they're just doing it for attention and it won't amount to much.

Dakotah June 21st, 2013 10:01 AM

Why not? It's not as is world-wide condemnation has forced politicians in countries where homosexuality is illegal to repeal those laws. In fact, the opposite is the case, where these countries are making the laws even more anti-gay. Russia is demonstrating a dismissive mentality towards the rest of the world. It literally pulls the finger on any criticism of its draconian laws. If Russia were to move to re-criminalize homosexuality, there would be condemnation, but that condemnation won't matter at all to Russia. It'll just go forward as it seems intent on doing making lives for gays miserable.

Kanzler June 21st, 2013 10:11 AM

I think we both know that that's not how government works. I don't think the mainstream is repressing homosexuality because it's some normative good, they're doing it because it's easy for them to do. And they're not doing it against the rest of the world, they're against "Western influence" - whatever that may mean, but again, it's an introspective action not directed against the outside world. Besides, Milonov in the article itself says that Mikhailov was a nobody and I agree with his analysis that ‘homophobia is used in order to promote oneself in the news and headlines, for the personal PR of the politicians'.

I'm also thinking that bare asses getting lashed by hunky Cossacks isn't the least bit homoerotic? :P

Starlight angel July 19th, 2013 11:21 AM

MOSCOW (AP) — More than two dozen activists were detained in Moscow on Tuesday as they were protesting a bill that stigmatizes the gay community and bans the giving of information about homosexuality to children.

The protesters attempted to rally outside the Russian State Duma before what is expected to be a final vote on the bill banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.”

Police moved in after supporters of the bill started showering the protesters with eggs and water. Some of the protesters who were not detained were viciously attacked by masked men on a central street a mile away.

The Kremlin-backed legislation imposes hefty fines for providing information about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to minors or holding gay pride rallies.

Russia is also considering banning citizens of countries that allow same-sex marriage from adopting Russian children.

Lawmakers changed the wording of “homosexual propaganda” to “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations,” which backers of the bill define as “relations which are not conducive to procreation.”

Breaching the law carries a fine of up to 5,000 rubles ($156) for an individual and up to 1 million rubles ($31,000) for media.

Earlier Tuesday a dozen anti-gay activists picketed the Duma. One of them held a poster that read: “Lawmakers, protect the people from perverts!”

The bill has been seen as Putin’s attempt to consolidate his support base which includes many conservative Russian Orthodox voters.

Russian and foreign rights activists have decried the bill as violating basic rights. Human Rights Watch on Monday said the bill would “infringe Russian citizens’ freedom of expression and information, and discriminate against Russia’s LGBT community.”

Russian officials have rejected criticism. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov defended the bill in February, saying that Russia does not have any international or European commitment to “allow propaganda of homosexuality.”

Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993 but anti-gay sentiment is still high.

blaziken25 July 29th, 2013 1:26 AM

It's terrible. Russia are going more and more backwards.

Silais July 29th, 2013 8:33 AM

Russia's using homosexuals as a buffer against the actual problems within the country, distracting the people from what really matters, enraging them about an issue that, really, should be a non-issue to begin with. As the world continues to struggle, we see more and more countries reverting back to third-worlds, relying on archaic laws and beliefs to govern a people who are suffering economically and physically.

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