Discrimination in Russia: Arrests for Violation of St. Petersburg Anti-Gay Law
SEXUALITIES, 9 Apr 2012
In St. Petersburg, Russia, two men were arrested on Thursday [5 Apr 2012] for holding up a sign reading “Homosexuality Is Normal.” It marks the first arrests on the strength of the city’s new law against disseminating information on homosexuality.
For the first time, police in St. Petersburg, Russia, have made arrests on the strength of a new law banning the dissemination of information on homo-, bi- and transsexuality. Two men were arrested in the city center on Thursday after holding up a sign reading “Homosexuality Is Normal,” according to the newswire Interfax.
Russia’s second-largest city passed the controversial law on Feb. 29. The two men now face a possible maximum fine of 500,000 rubles (€12,800/$17,000). The maximum penalty is more than the average annual income in Russia.
The law bans films, music videos, books and newspapers that contain homosexual content as well as the rainbow flag, which is a common symbol of gay pride. And the ban may soon no longer be limited to just St. Petersburg and other cities in Russia. At the end of March, Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party introduced a bill in the country’s parliament, the Duma, which would impose the ban at the national level.
“We are trying to protect our society from homosexual propaganda,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Russian radio three weeks ago.
‘Path to the Dark Ages’
German Green Party parliamentarian Volker Beck — who, like German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, is openly gay — said the bill is a “hate law” and that Russia is on the “path to the Dark Ages.” In the past, Beck has attended anti-homophobia rallies in Russia.
Homophobia remains widespread in Russia, and it is an open secret in the country that many public figures have sought to hide their sexual preferences by entering into marriages of convenience. The Russian Orthodox Church views homosexuality as a sin, and it was only in 1999 that homosexuality was stricken from the list of mental illnesses in the country.
Vitaly Milonov, the United Russia politician who is one of the initiators of the proposal for a nationwide ban in the Duma, accused the German band Rammstein of “gay propaganda” earlier this spring. He also warned the American singer Madonna against transgressing the law at a planned summer concert. Madonna, for her part, has said she plans on defying it.
cgh — with wire reports
DISCLAIMER: The statements, views and opinions expressed in pieces republished here are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of TMS. In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Click here to go to the current weekly digest or pick another article:
- Brilliant New Film ‘Pray Away’ Picks Personal Stories of ‘Ex-Ex-Gays’ to Expose Faith-Based Conversion Therapy as a Religious Sham
- Pope Francis Calls for Creation of Civil Union Laws for Same-Sex Couples
- Chechnya Is Trying to Exterminate Gay People--Our Silence only Emboldens Vladimir Putin and Ramzan Kadyrov