St. Petersburg's Legislative Assembly
on Wednesday approved a bill which seeks to outlaw “gay propaganda”
in the city.
If signed into law by St. Petersburg
Governor Georgy Poltavchenko, the bill would criminalize “public
actions aimed at propaganda of pederasty, lesbianism, bisexuality and
transgenderism among minors.” Offenders face a fine of up to
$16,700 under the bill proposed by the dominant United Russia party.
The law would effectively outlaw Gay
Pride parades and gay rights demonstrations.
Human rights organizations held
demonstrations against the measure at Russian embassies in Buenos
Aires, New York City, Paris, Berlin, Hamburg, Milan, Lisbon, Antwerp
and Rio de Janeiro, according to the group AllOut.org.
Andre Banks, executive director of
AllOut.org, said the bill would “violate Russia's own constitution
as well as any number of international treaties.”
The measure is “an outrageous attack
on the freedom of expression for all Russians – straight and gay.
It must not be allowed to stand,” he added.
“This radical law undermines the
great legacy of our city's past and future. If it passes, it would
be illegal to mention that famed Russian composer of the 1812
Overture, St. Petersburg native Tchaikovksy, was gay,” said Polina
Savchenko, director of the St. Petersburg-based gay rights group
Coming Out. “This law installs a culture of censorship in what was
once Russia's most cosmopolitan city and is a huge blow to the
freedom of expression in Russia. At a time when people all over the
world are opening up and coming out, this law puts Russia back in the
More than 66,000 people have signed an
petition calling on Poltavchenko to veto the bill.
States opposes Russia's “gay propaganda” bill.)