Russia: LI, Pro-Libertarians To End Anti-Gay Rule

LI activists are following  up the often locally Lib-led protests preparing massive contact campaign to end ridiculous anti-gay bill that makes telling kids about gays a crime.

Issues: Info meetings with media and psychological professionals, coalitions groups, military; dialogues on moral relationship to non-coercion/rights-respect principle, targeting reluctant legislators who went along so they realize there is non-gay support for the repeal of the measure which recalls the ‘progressives’ of 40 years past when Libs starting acting. LI activists say they will spread the following meme– Theme: ‘Hating gays is unmanly, weak,  superstitious, uncultured–and makes Russia a second-rate power.’

A group also will be meeting with business in major cities to discuss how suppression of gay pride parades is bad for business.

Approximately 74 percent of Russians still consider members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) community to be mentally ill, according to the Russian Levada Center.

The Russian Parliament reflected this sentiment on Tuesday when it passed legislation banning “the promotion of homosexuality,” or “homosexual propaganda,” among minors. The bill was passed by the State Duma in a vote of 436-0. 

The legal definition of homosexual propaganda remains murky, as questions about Elton John’s stage attire, the use of a rainbow on one company’s dairy product packaging, and Madonna’s pro-gay remarks at a concert come up for debate.

“This bill is outrageous and incredibly dangerous for millions in Russia – both gay and straight,” said Andre Banks, executive director and co-founder of gay rights activist group All Out. “This is a dangerous crackdown on free speech. No one will be safe from the witch hunt that will ensue.”

If passed, the legislation will be Russia’s first federal law directed at the LGBT community since the decriminalization of male homosexual acts in 1993—a move that begs the question: what is behind the sudden regressive attitude toward LGBT rights in the last five years?

Activists and experts have argued that the soon-to-be federal law is just one measure in a wider Kremlin crackdown—backed by the strictly conservative Orthodox Church—on public protests, civic activity, and the liberalization of society. The church’s power in the crackdown, said Joe Mirabella, director of community campaigns for All Out, may have something to do with declining acceptance of homosexuality.

“While I don’t have specific polling data that can explain the decreasing support in the polls, what we have seen is that the Russian Orthodox Church is increasingly involved in legislation and policy,” said Mirabella.

A June 4 Pew report presenting statistics for countries’ views on homosexuality shows that only 16 percent of Russians believe that homosexuality should be socially accepted. That number is down from 20 percent in 2007, making Russia the most intolerant country towards homosexuality in Europe.

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