The Duma, Russia’s lower parliament, approved a law on Thursday (24) extending the ban on the promotion of “LGBT propaganda” to all adults in the country.
The provision prohibits “propaganda in favor of non-traditional sexual relations, pedophilia and information aimed at encouraging gender reassignment” in the media, internet, advertising, books and cinema.
The legislation carries fines of up to 10 million rubles and still needs to be voted on by the upper house of parliament before being signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russia had already moved with a law in 2013 that prohibited the promotion of the LGBTQIA+ cause for minors, but the new text extends the measure to the entire population.
“Today the Duma approved in third reading the amendments to the law against the so-called ‘homosexual propaganda’ which makes it even more severe and expands the censorship against LGBTQIA+ content”, said politician Yuri Guaiana, a member of the +Europe party.
According to the activist, “the communist parliamentarians even proposed making ‘homosexual propaganda’ a crime punishable by two years’ imprisonment for ‘repeated cases of propaganda’ and for ‘propaganda through the mass media’, but fortunately that horror did not has reached a sufficient majority level”.
“Russian authorities are stepping up their crackdown on LGBTQIA+ communities under the pretext of preserving ‘traditional values’ and ‘victory over the enemy’” (i.e. an open and liberal European society, including Ukraine). We at + Europa will always defend freedom of expression and human rights against all censorship and dictatorship,” concluded Guaiana, expressing her “solidarity”.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in turn, said the decision was “another blow to freedom of expression and human rights of LGBTQIA+ people in Russia”.
In a tweet, Blinken urged Russian lawmakers “to roll back the law and respect everyone’s rights and dignity.”