Nikolai Alekseev (also spelled Alexeyev), Russia's most outspoken gay rights activist, has decried an anti-gay bill as a “disgrace,” the AP reported.

The bill, overwhelmingly approved Wednesday by lawmakers in St. Petersburg, Russia's second largest city, would criminalize “public actions aimed at propaganda of pederasty, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism among minors.”

The proposed legislation won't become law until it passes three required readings, but its strong showing in its first outing – one lawmaker voted against it and another wasn't present – suggests there is little that could stop it from becoming law.

Offenders face a fine of up to $1,600 under the bill proposed by the dominant United Russia party.

Alekseev said the measure would be used to hem in gay rights demonstrations.

“It theoretically allows the ban of anything anywhere where kids could be present,” he told The Associated Press. The bill would become “the main legal reason to deny any public actions by the LGBT community.”

The bill's backer, Vitaly Milonov, said in a statement that it was intended to “stop the flow of immoral information that pours over children and young people.”

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.