Russia Passes Law Banning ‘LGBT Propaganda’ Among Adults

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Russian lawmakers passed legislation on Thursday imposing steep fines for LGBT “propaganda” among both minors and adults.

Russia's parliament on Thursday passed the third and final reading of a law that expands an existing ban on promoting "LGBT propaganda" to children by banning it among people of all ages.

Under the new law any event or act regarded as an attempt to promote homosexuality - including online, in film, books, advertising or in public - could incur a heavy fine.

The fine will be up to 400,000 roubles ($6,600) for individuals and up to 5 million roubles ($82,100) for legal entities. Foreigners could face 15 days of arrest and subsequent expulsion from the country.

Human rights groups and LGBTQ+ activists say the extension of the law means any act or public mention of same-sex relationships is functionally being outlawed.

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is expected to sign the bill in the coming days.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, the Kremlin has launched a fresh effort to promote “traditional values”, with the Russian leader making anti-gay rhetoric one of the cornerstones of his political agenda.

In a recent speech, Putin accused the west of “moving towards open satanism”, citing the promotion of gay and transgender rights in Europe as an example.

Human rights activists on Thursday condemned the bill. Igor Kochetkov, the head of the rights group Russian LGBT Network, said the bill was an “absurd” government attempt to further discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community in Russia.

“This law is part of an ongoing homophobic government campaign against LGBTQ rights,” said Kochetkov, who recently left Russia. “This is part of a broader attack on anything the government deems ‘western and progressive’.”

Kochetkov said the bill was also an attempt by the Kremlin to look for internal enemies and distract attention from battlefield losses.

Human rights critics fear the law will be used to close down independent film and book festivals, making the topic of gay sexual orientation essentially taboo in Russia.