Friday, January 25, 2013

Most Russians Support Putin in Adopting the Anti-Gay Law

Such widespread propaganda of homosexuality negatively affects the formation of a child’s personality, blurs its ideas of the family as the union of a man and woman, and in fact creates grounds for limiting the freedom of choice of sexual preferences when it grows up.

Defense Statement for Legislation

Russia’s parliament backed a draft law January 25, 2013, banning “homosexual propaganda” in the country. Critics see this act as an attempt to get up public support for President Vladimir Putin in the country’s largely conservative society and stir the opposition to fight quite unpopular causes (as viewed by general public).

Only one deputy in the State Duma lower house voted against the bill.

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The law would make the “promotion of homosexuality among minors” an administrative offence in federal law, with fines of up to 500,000 rubles (US$ 16,200).

Veteran human-rights campaigner Lyudmila Alexeyeva described the draft law as “medieval” and said it was intended to appeal to conservative voters after months of protests that have sapped Mr. Putin’s popularity. Public approval for Putin, who is now 60, stood in January at 62 percent, the lowest level since June 2000, an independent pollster said yesterday.

The legislation has served to deepen divisions in society since Mr. Putin returned to the presidency in May and began moves seen by the opposition as designed to crack down on dissent and smother civil society.

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Translation from Russian: “Homosexuality is not a perversion; perversion is a hockey on the grass and ballet on the ice!”.

During the process, Mr. Putin and his supporters have underlined what they see as conservative, traditional Russian values.

He has drawn closer to the Russian Orthodox Church during this time, hoping the support of one of the most influential institutions in Russia will consolidate his grip on power.

Homosexuality, punished with jail terms in the Soviet Union, was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, but much of the gay community remains underground and prejudice runs deep.

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Anti-gay propaganda laws are already in place in Arkhangelsk, Novosibirsk and St. Petersburg, Mr. Putin’s home city. A Russian court in November rejected a $10-million compensation claim against U.S. pop star Madonna by a group of anti-gay activists who accused her of hurting their feelings by promoting homosexuality at a St. Petersburg concert. Although a court rejected that case, a local politician from Putin’s ruling Untied Russia party has said he is taking similar action against another singer, Lady Gaga, who is also a defender of lesbian and gay rights.

Today, about 20 people were detained outside the State Duma, the lower house, after minor scuffles broke out between rival groups of supporters and opponents of the law. The supporters, some of them holding Russian Orthodox icons or crosses, cheered and threw eggs as police hauled away protesters who started kissing. One gay activist was splashed with green paint, witnesses said.

“The police yet again directed their actions with arguably excessive force towards the wrong people. The LGBTI activists were not a threat to anybody; they did not instigate hate or violence. They were there exercising their right to freedom of expression of their feelings towards one another. They are as entitled to this right and protection from violence as everyone else,” commented David Diaz-Jogeix, Europe and Central Asia Programme Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

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