Russia’s parliament on Friday gave its initial backing in a 388-1 vote in the first of three readings hours to a bill that would ban what lawmakers there call “homosexual propaganda” among minors which includes banning free access to information on homosexuality and could lead to gays being fined and being imprisoned for demonstrating or kissing in public akin to local laws already passed in Putin’s native city of Saint Petersburg and five other Russian regions.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland released the following statement:
“We are deeply concerned by this draft legislation in Russia that severely restricts freedom of expression and assembly for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and, indeed, for all Russians.
You know how strongly we feel about LGBT rights around the world, how strongly the secretary of state personally feels that nobody should be discriminated against for who they love,”
Vitaly Milonov, a lawmaker from the ruling United Russia party who authored St. Petersburg’s anti-propaganda legislation, maintains the law is only meant to protect minors, and doesn’t infringe on the private lives of homosexual adults.
“This is a law that simply leaves private life within the boundaries of private life,” he told RIA Novosti on Thursday.
But he added that, when it comes to legal definitions of marriage, non-traditional families “don’t count.”
“All Russian citizens have the same basic rights and freedoms, but any kind of extras – based upon matters of principle, such as their private family lives – are not included.”
Where have we heard that before? – (The 3 Stooges Of Hate Tony Perkins, Peter Sprigg and Brian Brown: Gays Have The Same Civil Rights As Everybody Else)
While I find it admirable that the State Department has actually said something about the current anti-gay atmosphere in Russia, I must admit that while gay American’s today are still treated as second class citizens in its own country its highly hypocritical. Perhaps that’s why statements like like the one issued by the State Department pull absolutely no weight and make no difference in extremely homophobic countries when they are made.