St. Petersburg’s city lawmakers have postponed passing a bill that would ban the “promotion of homosexuality,” in the face of international outrage.
On Wednesday, the bill’s author, Vilatly Milonov, told reporters that the process was put on hold as “we have decided to double-check all legal definitions related to this bill”.
Russian activists have warned that the bill would “cripple the LGBT movement” in the city. Moscow lawmakers have said that they also plan to introduce a similar bill.
If passed, St. Petersburg’s ‘The Promotion of Homosexuality, Lesbianism, and Transgenderism to Minors’ bill would outlaw any Pride events or any “public activities promoting sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgender identity”. It also links homosexuality to paedophilia.
The bill has already overwhelmingly passed its first three readings in the legislature.
The proposed legislation has been condemned by the European arm of the International Lesbian and Gay Association and now both the British and American governments have also slammed the bill.
“We are deeply concerned by proposed local legislation in Russia that would severely restrict freedoms of expression and assembly for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, and indeed all Russians,” said the US State Department in statement on Wednesday.
The UK’s Foreign Office added, also on Wednesday, that “the message of this law, that homosexuality is unacceptable, let alone in any way similar to a crime like paedophilia, is wrong.
“It goes against European and Russian commitments to human rights, including the guarantee of non-discrimination set out in the European Convention on Human Rights”.
Almost 200,000 people have signed an online petition opposing the St. Petersburg bill.