The Russian Duma has finally approved the LGBTQ “propaganda” bill

Russian lawmakers on Thursday finally approved a a bill that greatly expands restrictions on activities seen as promoting gay rights in the countryanother step in the years-long crackdown on militancy in the country LGBTQ community.

The new bill expands the ban on what authorities call “promotion of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors, established by legislation known as the “gay propaganda law”. It was adopted by the Kremlin in 2013 to promote “traditional values” in Russia.

This year, lawmakers came forward to prohibit the distribution of such information to persons over the age of 18.

In this handout photo provided by the State Duma, the federal assembly of the Russian Federation, Russian lawmakers attend a meeting of the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. Russian lawmakers have finally approved a bill that greatly expands restrictions on an activity seen as advancing LGBTQ rights in the country. (State Duma, Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation via AP)

/ AP

The bill was approved in the third and final reading on Thursday by the State Duma, the lower house of parliament. It will then be submitted to the upper house, the Federation Council, and then to President Vladimir Putin, whose signature will give it legal effect.

The new bill bans all advertising, mass media and online resources, books, films and theatrical productions deemed to contain such “propaganda,” a term the bill loosely defines. The 2013 ban has often been imposed against any demonstrations of same-sex unions and has been used as a tool to crack down on LGBTQ rights groups and activists.

Penalties are provided for violations. Those committed by non-residents may result in deportation from Russia. Fines from 100,000 to 2 million rubles ($1,660-33,000). For some violations, foreigners face arrest for 15 days before deportation.

The bill does not provide for criminal liability for violations. Russian legislation stipulates that changes to the Criminal Code can be made only through an independent bill. Some lawmakers have suggested such a measure.

In 2020, Russia unequivocally banned same-sex marriage by amending the country’s Constitution, which, among other things, declared that “the institution of marriage is the union of a man and a woman.”

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