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Russian Federation-Update: Governor signs homophobic law into force
On 12 March 2012, the governor of St Petersburg Mr Georgiy Poltavchenko signed a law banning the so-called 'propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism and transgenderism, and paedophilia to minors'.
The text was adopted in its third reading on 29 February 2012 by Saint Petersburg city parliament. The legislation will amend the Law of Saint Petersburg 'On administrative offences in St Petersburg' and introduces an administrative responsibility relating to the dissemination of information about the LGBT community and its rights. See Front Line Defenders urgent appeal here http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/17572
The law will come into force 10 days after its signature by the Governor.
On this occasion, LGBT organisation 'Coming out' issued the following a statement:
St. Petersburg, Russia: Governor Signed the Gay Gag Law
Statement by St. Petersburg LGBT organization Coming Out
Today it became known that the governor of St. Petersburg Georgiy Poltavchenko signed the homophobic law, imposing administrative fines on the so-called "propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgenderism" and paedophilia to minors.
Authors of the law maintain that it is designed to "protect children from information that can harm their physical, intellectual, moral, and spiritual development". The term "propaganda" is defined as any uncontrolled and targeted distribution of information through any accessible means to minors that can […] form an incorrect perception of social equivalence between traditional and non-traditional conjugal relations". Authorities project "traditional values" and clerical rhetoric onto politics, and prioritize "interests of majority" over the value of human individuality. We realize that today, fascist-like rhetoric in Russia is becoming basis for legislative activity.
In fact, this law has little to do with protecting minors. Today, neither homosexual people, nor human rights defenders, nor lawyers can answer the question of how this law is going to be applied in practice, due to its vague nature and non-legal terminology. To talk about existence of homosexuality, to publicly denounce homophobic violence, to develop sense of self-awareness and dignity in homosexual people, to promote tolerance – all of these acts can fall under the "propaganda" law. This law will serve directly to further isolate and marginalize the gay community and encourage hate towards a social group.
60 years ago philosopher and founder of totalitarianism theory, Hannah Arendt, said that in a totalitarian state, citizens are "either victims or executioners and the movement by its ideology seeks to prepare them to fill either role." Handing out of roles has begun: Russian authorities legalized discrimination of homosexuals. What will come next?
We are convinced that no authority can deprive people of their right to dignity, to respect of private and family life, to freedom of expression and to protection from discrimination and violence. We are offended and outraged by this act by city authorities and will continue fighting for the rights of LGBT citizens until the barbaric law is repealed.
You can find additional information on the situation for human rights Defenders in Russia. HERE