The State Duma of Russia will consider the bill against propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships

Today Duma Council included in agenda for 11 June the bill on prohibiting the propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships among minors, including mass media and Internet. The Committee on Family Relations is planning to pass the bill in second and third reading at once.

The bill has passed the first reading on 25 January 2013 and provoked a lot of criticism from the right defenders’ side, experts and even Duma lawyers. The Head of responsible committee Elena Mizulina said many times about creation of a working group on this bill with a participation of LGBT representatives. Mizulina hasn’t fulfilled her commitments.

In the evening 6 June a new version of the bill was published. According to Mizulina the text was prepared in one day before the deadline for receiving amendments. Duma Legal Department qualified the new version as even worse than previous one: suggested norms do not meet criteria of clarity and unambiguity and contradicts with already existing norms of administrative law. Nevertheless in one day the Duma laywers took their words back.

Instead of “propaganda of homosexuality” the term “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” is used. Not a single federal law has used this term before. Also this bill included such legally ambiguous terms as “non-traditional sexual attitudes”, “distorted image of equality of traditional and non-traditional sexual relationships”.

It’s worth mentioning that “non-traditional sexual relationships” is euphemism widely used in Russia for homosexual relationships. And though the name of the bill changed several times on the Duma website there is clarification: so called bill “on prohibiting propaganda of homosexuality among minors”. But now it means that any mentioning of sexual relationships considered “non-traditional” by the law enforcer will be fined as the law talks about banning the spreading information and expressing one’s opinion about “distorted image of equality of traditional and non-traditional sexual relationships” and “appeal of non-traditional sexual relationships”.

The enforcement of this law will endanger the freedom of assembly as it allows suspension of any organization’s activity and a fine up to 1 million rubles which could mean impossibility for organizations to operate.

Foreigners will be punished stricter than Russian citizens, up to 15 days of arrest and deportation from the country.

According to the Russian LGBT network chairperson, Igor Kochetkov, norms suggested by the bill, do not meet criteria of law quality (clarity, consistency, distinctness) from the point of view of European human rights and freedom convention. «If the law is adopted as it is, it will open wide opportunities for violent persecution  of citizens for their beliefs and will create grounds for human rights violations», - he says.