Russian parliament mulls expanding 'gay propaganda' law

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Russia’s parliament moved Monday to tighten already stringent restrictions on the discussion of LGBTQ rights and relationships.

A draft bill calling for the broadening of a 2013 ban on the “promotion of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors, widely referred to as the “gay propaganda” bill, was announced on the website of the parliament, or Duma.

Introduced by a cross-party group of six Communist and socially conservative deputies, the bill would ban public discussion of LGBTQ relationships in a positive or neutral light, and any LGBTQ content in cinemas.

Vyacheslav Volodin, the parliament speaker and an ally of President Vladimir Putin, proposed similar measures earlier this month. On July 8, he spoke in favor of a broad ban on disseminating information on LGBTQ relationships after Russia had withdrawn from the Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog, in March.

“With the exit from the Council of Europe, demands to legalize same-sex marriages in Russia have become a thing of the past. Attempts to impose alien values on our society have failed,” Volodin wrote on Telegram.

Pro-Kremlin figures have repeatedly pitched the ongoing war in Ukraine as a battle against “Western values,” which they say include LGBTQ visibility and rights.

On the same day the bill was submitted for consideration, Putin formally recalled Russia’s representative at the European Court of Human Rights, or ECHR, via a decree published Monday on the Russian government portal for legal information.

Last month, Putin signed into law a bill releasing Russia from its responsibility to enforce ECHR judgments issued after March 15, when Russia withdrew from the Council of Europe. The ECHR was established by a 1953 convention drafted by the then-newly formed council, which all member states are expected to ratify.

The Associated Press

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