Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Q&A on antigay legislation in Russia

Riot police guard gay rights activists who were beaten by antigay protesters at a rally in St. Petersburg, Russia, in June. 

Associated Press

Riot police guard gay rights activists who were beaten by antigay protesters at a rally in St. Petersburg, Russia, in June. 

MOSCOW — Russia's law on "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors" was signed by President Vladimir Putin on July 29. Originally titled the law on "homosexual propaganda," the bill criminalizes public expression of support for nontraditional relationships. Russian lawmakers say the law doesn't outlaw homosexuality but merely discourages discussion of it among people younger than 18. However, the law has outraged Russian liberals and some sectors of the international community just six months before the start of the Winter Olympic Games in the Russian city of Sochi.

What is propaganda?

The definition of "propaganda" is vague and hinges on intent. Anyone who distributes information with the "intention" of persuading minors that nontraditional sexual relationships are "attractive" or "interesting," or even "socially equivalent to traditional relationships" could be accused of breaking the law.

The law does not outlaw gay sex, which was legalized in Russia in 1993. It does not explicitly ban participation in gay pride parades or the promotion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality online, but anyone wearing a rainbow flag on the street or writing about gay relationships on Facebook, for instance, could be accused of propagandizing.

What are "nontraditional relations"?

They are not defined by law. However, in an interview with REN-TV, Yelena Mizulina, one of the bill's authors, said there are four kinds: "men with men, women with women, bisexuality and being transgender."

What are the penalties for violating the law?

The law sets fines of up to $150 for individuals and $30,000 for organizations. Punishments are more severe for propaganda on the Web or in the media — up to $3,000 for individuals and up to $30,000 for organizations. Foreign citizens are subject to fines of up to $3,000, up to 15 days in prison, and deportation and denial of re-entry into Russia.

Has the law been enforced?

No one has yet gone to court under the federal law. Six LGBT activists were detained after one of them unfurled a banner reading "Being gay is normal" near a children's library in Moscow, but so far the participants have not been brought to trial.

How will the law impact LGBT rights?

While most activists believe that the law will not be widely enforced, it effectively gives any local government carte blanche to ban gay pride events and will discourage people from discussing LGBT rights publicly and online.

How have Russians reacted to the law?

While the legislation outraged Russian liberals and activists, a poll by the independent Levada Center in Russia found that 73 percent of respondents supported any government efforts to curb homosexual propaganda. Four out of five Russians say that they do not have a single LGBT acquaintance.

How has the rest of the world reacted to the law?

The law sparked a boycott of Russian vodka in gay bars across North America and vodka dumps in front of Russian embassies and consulates. There have been scattered calls for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Russian city of Sochi, but no country or athlete has yet declined to attend. Most officials, including President Barack Obama, have called a boycott unnecessary.

What about the Olympics?

That's unclear. The Interior Ministry, which controls the police force, said Monday that the antigay law will be enforced during the Olympics. But the Russian Olympic Committee said the law will be suspended during the Games.

Q&A on antigay legislation in Russia 08/12/13 [Last modified: Monday, August 12, 2013 11:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Editorial: UF shows how to preserve free speech

    Editorials

    The University of Florida was forced to navigate a treacherous terrain of constitutional concerns and public safety this week, all in a glaring public spotlight. In the end, Thursday's appearance by Richard Spencer was a success — as much as an unwelcome visit from a notorious white nationalist can be. The …

  2. Blake High grad Taylor Trensch lands lead role in 'Dear Evan Hansen' on Broadway

    Stage

    For those who saw Taylor Trensch grow up in Tampa, his rise from promising student to star is heartwarming and entirely predictable. In January, Trensch, 28, will be moving into the title role of Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway, one of the hottest tickets in theater.

    Taylor Trensch, a 2007 Blake High graduate, will play the title role in Broadway's Dear Evan Hansen. Courtesy of Frank Trensch.
  3. Editorial: When protest leads to understanding

    Editorials

    The protests against racial injustice by professional athletes across the country include examples of communities where it has not been handled well. And then there is the example set in Tampa Bay.

  4. Why it's too early to give up on the Bucs

    Bucs

    Don't panic. It's not too late for the Bucs.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) and wide receiver Mike Evans (13) celebrate after the defense recovered a fumble during the second half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 

  5. Backlog of immigration cases under Trump stymies immigrants in Florida

    Courts

    It was supposed to be a routine green card renewal for a Thai woman who has called Central Florida home for years.

    Immigration lawyers such as Gerald P. Seipp of Clearwater worry that their clients' circumstances will change with long delays in their immigration court appeals, hurting their chances of staying in the country. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]