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

Andre Banks, executive director of, 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 closet.”

More than 66,000 people have signed an petition calling on Poltavchenko to veto the bill.

(Related: United States opposes Russia's “gay propaganda” bill.)