Russia’s upper house of parliament unanimously voted on Wednesday to toughen a controversial law banning what the bill describes as “LGBT propaganda,” making it apply to Russians of all ages.
The bill has to be signed into law by Russian President Vladimir Putin after being passed by the Federation Council. It passed the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, on November 24.
The law proposes to ban all Russians from promoting or “praising” homosexual relationships or publicly suggesting that they are “normal.” It also prohibits “propaganda” of pedophilia and gender reassignment in advertising, books, films.
The original version of the law adopted in 2013 banned “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” among minors. Now Russian lawmakers are applying it to adults as well.
Individuals who spread what the bill calls “LGBT propaganda” or attempt to do so, will be fined up to 400,000 rubles ($6,600). Legal entities can be fined up to 5 million rubles ($82,100). Foreigners can be arrested for up to 15 days or deported, according to the text of the bill.
“The louder they squeal in the West, the more we will be sure that we are on the right track. This topic should become a sin in Russia like it is in many of our religions,” said one of the Senators, Taimuraz Dzambekovich, before voting for the bill to pass.
The controversial law was met with criticism and ridicule in Western countries, including a ruling in the European Court of Human Rights in 2017 that stated Russia’s “gay propaganda law” is discriminatory, promotes homophobia and violates the European Convention on Human Rights.
The bill says that materials published online that include information about pedophilia, sex changes or so-called LGBT propaganda will be included in the list of websites that will be monitored or blocked by Russia’s Internet watchdog Roskomnadzor.