Sergey Lavrov, Russia's foreign
minister, on Tuesday defended a bill which seeks to ban “gay
In responding to criticism from the
Dutch government and the European Union, Lavrov said that Russia does
not “have a single international or common European commitment to
allow propaganda of homosexuality,” the AP reported.
The measure last month cleared Russia's
lower house of parliament, and is expected to become law by June. It
is modeled after a law which took effect last year in St. Petersburg.
St. Petersburg's law criminalizes “public actions aimed at
propaganda of pederasty, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism
among minors.” It also bans public events that promote gay rights,
such as Gay Pride parades and gay rights demonstrations.
Lavrov spoke at a news conference with
Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans.
“Gay rights are human rights and
Russia must adhere to its international obligations,” Timmermans
had said in calling on the Russian parliament not to approve the
On Tuesday, Timmermans said he and
Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign policy chief, believe that the
measure “could infringe on fundamental rights.”
Twenty years after gay sex was
decriminalized in the country, anti-gay rhetoric remains high in
Gays “can go about their business
absolutely freely and unpunished,” Lavrov insisted. He warned
against “another kind of discrimination when one group of citizens
gets the right to aggressively promote their own values that run
against those shared by the majority of the society and impose them