Saint Petersburg, long considered Russia’s most beautiful, artistic, and Western-leaning city, took a giant leap backward toward the Stone Age today with the passage of a bill that imposes fines of up to 500,000 rubles (about $17,200) for the “promotion of homosexuality.”

Russia’s second biggest city follow three others in the passage of the outrageously archaic legislation, which effectively makes it illegal to write books, publish articles, or speak in public about being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

The Saint Petersburg City Council voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill in its third and final reading, with 29 yays, five nays, and one abstention.

Before becoming law in the city, the bill must now be signed by regional governor Georgy Poltavchenko — but since Poltavchenko has previously expressed his view that the legislation would “serve for the good of public morals,” his signature is all but a given.

Proponents of the bill have already said that if they were successful in Saint Petersburg, their next step will be to take it to the national stage.

Flash mobs took to the streets outside Russian embassies across the world earlier this week in efforts to stop the bill’s passage. Two petitions—one directed to world leaders, the other to Poltavchenko himself and promising a global travel boycott of the city—have also sought to stop the legislation.

Photo by yasmapaz & ace_heart

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