Russia rejects criticism of gay propaganda ban

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Russia’s foreign minister has rejected criticism from the Euro-pean Union about proposed legislation that would outlaw “homosexual propaganda”.

Responding to assertions that the legislation may be contrary to Russia’s international obligations, foreign minister Sergey Lavrov yesterday said there were no such obligations.

“We don’t have a single international or common European commitment to allow propaganda of homosexuality,” he said.

Russia’s lower house of parliament voted on 25 January to support a bill that makes public events and dissemination of information about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to minors punishable by fines of up to $16,000 (£10,500). The bill still requires the parliament’s and the president’s final approval.

Russia decriminalised homosexuality in 1993, but homophobia remains strong in the country. Authorities routinely ban gay rallies and parades.

Those behind the bill say children need to be protected from “homosexual propaganda” because they are unable to evaluate the information critically.