Russian lawmakers have proposed extending a ban on the promotion of “non-traditional” sexual relationships to minors to include adults as well, a senior legislator said on Monday.
Under the proposed changes, ANY event or act regarded as an attempt to “promote homosexuality” could incur a fine or jail time.
“We propose to generally extend the ban on such propaganda regardless of the age of the audience (offline, in the media, on the internet, social networks and online cinemas),” the head of the State Duma’s information committee, Alexander Khinshtein, said on his Telegram social media channel.
Homosexuality was a criminal offence in Russia until 1993 and classed as a mental illness until 1999. But homosexuality is still disapproved of by most Russians thanks to the Russian Orthodox Church, and same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are ineligible for the legal protections available to opposite-sex couples and are subject to harassment and violence.
Russia’s laws have received international condemnation from human rights campaigners, and media outlets that even display of LGBT symbols, such as the rainbow flag, have resulted in arrests, and incited homophobic violence, like is documented in the Channel 4 documentary Hunted which followed anti-gay groups as they lured young gay men into traps where they were humiliated, with the footage later posted online.