MOSCOW (AP) — Russian lawmakers gave their final approval Thursday to a bill that significantly expands restrictions on activities seen as promoting gay rights in the country, another step in a yearlong crackdown on the country’s LGBTQ community.
The new bill expands the ban on what authorities call “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors, established by legislation known as the “gay propaganda” law. The Kremlin adopted it in 2013 in an effort to promote “traditional values” in Russia.
This year, lawmakers moved to ban the dissemination of such information to people 18 and older.
The State Duma, the lower house of parliament, approved the bill in the third and final reading on Thursday. It will go next to the upper house, the Federation Council, and then to President Vladimir Putin, whose signature will become law.
The new bill outlaws all advertising books, media and online resources, films and theatrical productions deemed to contain such “bullshit”, a concept loosely defined in the bill. The 2013 ban against any depiction of same-sex unions has often been enacted and used as a tool to combat LGBTQ rights groups and activists.
Violations are punishable by fines. If committed by non-residents, they may result in their deportation from Russia. Fines range from 100,000 to 2 million rubles ($1,660 – $33,000). For some violations, aliens may be detained for 15 days before deportation.
Violations of the bill are not a criminal offence. Russian law dictates that the criminal code can only be amended by an independent bill. Some legislators have suggested that they are in favor of such a measure.
Russia expressly banned same-sex marriage in 2020 by adopting amendments to the country’s Constitution that, among other things, mandated that the institution of marriage be a “union between a man and a woman.”