St. Petersburg’s legislature has passed its proposed ‘gay propaganda’ law in a third and final reading yesterday, with 29 parliamentarians in favour and five against.
The law stipulates “public activities promoting homosexuality (sodomy and lesbianism), bisexualism and transgender identity” as well as paedophilia among minors, as falling under the definition of propaganda.
Fines range from approximately $16,000 for individuals deemed to be ‘promoting’ homosexuality, to $160,000 for legal entities.
Vitaly V. Milonov, who drafted the law and has previously referred to gay people as “perverts,” accused gay rights activists of waging an aggressive campaign of conversion among Russia’s children with the backing of Western governments, The New York Times reports.
“This is a declaration of Russia’s moral sovereignty,” Milonov said in televised remarks after the law passed.
St. Petersburg’s governor must now sign the law before it can take effect. He is expected to do so.
It will then become one of three other Russian cities to have passed similar laws banning the promotion of gay and trans identities among minors.
“It’s a collapse of the policy of gay groups collaborating with authorities in St. Petersburg for several years,” said GayRussia and Moscow Pride founder Nikolai Alekseev in a statement.
“GayRussia and Moscow Pride have been fighting against similar laws since 2009 without anyone’s helps. We have always said that this case can only be legally resolved when the UN Human Rights Committee and especially the European Court of Human Rights delivers a binding verdict against similar laws in Ryazan region in the case initiated by activists of GayRussia and Moscow Pride who were harshly criticised for their actions against these laws by organisations in St. Petersburg.”
Last month, the Australian Government called on St. Petersburg to drop the discriminatory bill after Western Australian ALP Senator Louise Pratt co-sponsored a motion to the Australian Senate condemning the laws.