MOSCOW, 25 January - RAPSI. The State Duma adopted in the first reading Friday a draft law that, if enacted, would impose federal sanctions for the promotion of “gay propaganda” among children.
The draft law, which was submitted in March 2012, stipulates that the promotion of homosexuality among children should warrant a fine ranging between 4,000 and 5,000 rubles (approximately $133-166) for citizens; 40,000 and 50,000 rubles (approximately $1,330-1,660) for officials; or 400,000 and 500,000 (approximately $13,300-16,600) for legal entities.
In terms of enforcement, the bill stipulates that police will write up administrative reports for violations, which will then be considered in a court.
Members of Parliament did, however, point to changes that need to be made prior to the bill’s review in the second reading. Specifically, the Committee on the Affairs of Family, Women, and Children recommend that the definition of “homosexuality” should be clarified or eliminated and replaced with another term, and the concept of “propaganda” should be clarified. The committee further urged the creation of a list of information that would need to be prohibited toward the end of protecting children.
Amendments to the bill will be accepted through May 25, at which point a working group will be created and tasked with developing an enhanced version of the bill.
Earlier, Elena Mizulina, who heads the Committee on the Affairs of Family, Women, and Children, predicted that the bill may be ready by the end of the Spring session (July 14), or the end of the year.
Other variations of the law banning the promotion of homosexuality have been passed in various Russian regions, including St. Petersburg and the Siberian city of Novosibirsk.
The St. Petersburg variation attracted a great deal of attention last November when a group of concerned citizens filed a civil suit against Madonna, for allegedly having perpetuated homosexual propaganda during her concert in the city last summer. The plaintiffs specifically charged that by passing out pink arm bands and encouraging the audience not to be afraid of gay people, the pop diva violated the city ordinance. Finding their argument less than compelling, a St. Petersburg judge held against the plaintiffs, and ordered them to pay legal fees.
Weeks later, St. Petersburg municipal lawmaker Vitaly Milonov launched a similar claim against Lady Gaga based on her St. Petersburg concert. The claim is presently pending.