Lawmakers in St. Petersburg, Russia's
second largest city, have postponed a debate on a bill that would
outlaw “gay propaganda.”
The bill, which won overwhelming
approval by lawmakers during its first reading last week, would
criminalize “public actions aimed at propaganda of pederasty,
lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism among minors.”
Offenders face a fine of up to $1,600 under the bill proposed by the
dominant United Russia party.
The bill's author, Vilatly Milonov,
said talks broke down after lawmakers failed to agree on the bill's
“legal definitions” and fines imposed.
“We have decided to double-check all
legal definitions related to this bill,” Milonov told reporters on
Gay rights activist have condemned the
“It theoretically allows the ban of
anything anywhere where kids could be present,” Nikolai Alekseev
(also spelled Alexeyev), Russia's top gay rights activist, told The
Associated Press. The bill would become “the main legal reason
to deny any public actions by the LGBT community.”
A petition decrying the proposed
legislation at AllOut.org
has attracted nearly 200,000 signatures in just a few days.
Although homosexuality was
decriminalized in 1993, anti-gay sentiment in Russia remains high.
Banned gay pride parades and marches in Moscow have received the
lion's share of media coverage, but officials have also cracked down
on other events, including gay film festivals.