Parliamentary committee rejects Russian anti gay law


Two men hold hands in Moscow (Source)

A Russian parliamentary committee has declined to support a bill that proposes banning being gay in public.

According to The Moscow Times, the draft law was rejected on Monday by the State Duma Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building for technical reasons.

The explanation given Dmitry Vyatkin, the deputy chairman of the committee, was that “from a formal legal perspective, the bill was illiterate.”

Radio Free Europe reported that some committee members responded with sniggers to warnings by the bill’s co-author, Communist Party MP Ivan Nikitchuk, that homosexuality is a “contagious disease”.

He ranted in the bill’s defence that, “This is an illness on a level with drugs and alcoholism and other illnesses. What’s more, this illness is contagious. For a young man with an unformed psyche, it represents a serious threat.”

The proposed penalty for “public expression of non-traditional sexual relations” ranged from fines up to five thousand rubles ($66 / R1,000) to 15 days in jail.

“It is hard to exaggerate the sinister absurdity and abusive intent of this bill,” commented Tanya Cooper, Russia Researcher at Human Rights Watch, last week. “It would effectively outlaw being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) and penalise people for expressing their identity, a crucial part of anyone’s existence.”

While the proposed new legislation appears to have now been defeated, a 2013 law prohibiting the promotion of “non-traditional” sexual relationships in public, on television, in print or on the internet remains in effect.

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