One MP voted against and one abstained in the first reading of the bill.
The ban was submitted by deputies from the Novosibirsk Region in Siberia, who had earlier introduced similar local regulations. If approved, it would introduce heavy fines for the promotion of homosexuality among children. Those found guilty of the offence could be fined up to 5000 roubles (about $160), but the fines increase 10-fold for officials and 100-fold for companies.
Russia’s LGBT community strongly opposes the ban, claiming the law lacks a specific definition of what constitutes said propaganda.
“The law absolutely does not define what gay propaganda is and the reasons are understandable because gay propaganda does not exist,” gay rights activist Yelena Kostyuchenko told the AP. “In that respect, any information on, as the law puts it, ‘equal values of traditional and unorthodox marital relations’ is considered ‘gay propaganda’.”
Peaceful protests and kiss-ins turned violent earlier this week as people representing “traditional values” attacked the gay activists. Violence broke out again today as the MPs began hearings on the bill, with gay activists and Orthodox Christian opponents smearing each other with paint and spraying tear gas. Police soon intervened and detained about 20 people.
Yelena Mizulina, head of the parliamentary committee for family affairs, said the State Duma would start working on amendments to the bill and that the team preparing the second reading will include at least one representative from the LGBT community. Mizulina added she hoped to pass the final draft of the bill by early July.