LGBT begin kissing protest as Duma readies to vote on gay propaganda bill
Police have broken up a demonstration by gay rights activists as they started kissing in the street near the Parliament building despite sub zero temperatures. The protesters oppose the nationwide ban on gay propaganda that will be soon put on vote.
The first hearing on the bill was scheduled for December 19 and the kissing event was timed to coincide, but when the State Duma postponed the consideration of the draft the activists decided that they would protest twice. The State Duma will now consider the bill that imposes large fines for promotion of homosexuality and paedophilia among minors in January. It has been submitted by the legislative assembly of the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, and similar laws have been approved in several Russian regions, including the country’s second largest city of St. Petersburg. There has been huge public debate and an outcry from the gay community.The organizers of the protest say the bill attempts to make them ‘invisible’, to ban them from speaking about their problems and practically “live undercover”. They also claim that by publicly kissing they intended to demonstrate that love is an intimate thing and must not have any relation to politics. As the gay propaganda ban is slowly moving towards nationwide approval, many Russians have joined the gays in expressing their discontent with it. The public movement “Alliance of heterosexuals for equal rights with LGBT” has addressed the Lower House with a request to block the bill before it is put to a vote. They resolutely oppose the bill as they consider it absurd and meaningless. They also claim that the initiative has nothing to do with society’s real problems and its declared objectives. The bill is discriminates against a group of citizens, and violates their basic rights and freedoms, and insults their dignity, the heterosexuals claim. They also fear that if approved it would provoke violence, adding that the division of citizens on the basis of their sexual preferences “is the first step on the way to fascism”. But the main threat coming from the bill is that it could actually harm minors as its approval can cause a rise in suicides among gay teenagers, the activists claim. The address was forwarded to the State Duma speaker and to leaders of all four parliamentary parties. Its authors also called upon Russian citizens to support their move and to ask the MPs not to vote for the bill.