The same day, the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, passed another bill providing jail terms and fines for anyone convicted of insulting religious feelings, the Wall Street Journal reports.
According to some reports, the new law will allow for jail terms of up to three years and fines of up to 500,000 roubles (US $15,400) for organizations “spreading information aimed at forming non- traditional sexual behavior among children, suggesting this behavior is attractive, and making a false statement about the socially equal nature of traditional and non-traditional relationships”.
Individuals using the Internet to spread homosexualist propaganda can be fined up to 5,000 roubles (US $155); officials can be fined up to 10 times that amount. The maximum fine is one million roubles (US $30,800). Foreigners found in violation of the law can be arrested and held for up to 15 days before being deported.
The bill now moves on to the Federation Council where it is expected to pass easily and then to be signed into law by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. It follows several regional laws, including that of Russia’s “second city” St. Petersburg, where homosexual campaigning has been outlawed. In the past two years, a total of ten of Russia’s 83 provinces have passed such laws.
Putin has defended the bill saying it is “necessary to defend the rights of sexual minorities,” but that Russian public opinion must be respected. A recent state-sponsored poll found that 88 percent of respondents agreed with the ban.
“Can you imagine an organization promoting pedophilia in Russia? I think people in many Russian regions would have started to take up arms. The same is true for sexual minorities: I can hardly imagine same-sex marriages being allowed in Chechnya. Can you imagine it? It would have resulted in human casualties,” Putin said during a visit to Amsterdam.
Russian human rights commissioner Vladimir Lukin, however, warned that “cruel and unwise” application of the law will lead to a more sympathetic hearing for the homosexualist movement who will be more able to portray themselves as victims.
“Cruel and unwise administration could lead to human casualties and human tragedies,” he told Interfax today. “People, who draft and try to promote such bills, probably guess but ignore the fact that creating a halo of victimhood is one of the most efficient forms of advertisement.”