On January 19th, Russia will determine whether or not it wants to add another homophobic law to its large anti-gay portfolio. The bill proposes to implement jail time for people displaying non-heterosexual acts of public affection.
If enacted, the new law would fine citizens between 4,000 and 5,000 rubles (which equates to $53-$66 US dollars) if anyone is caught committing “non-traditional sexual relations, manifested in a public demonstration of personal perverted sexual preferences in public places.” If these acts of homosexual affection occur in places that provide “educational, cultural or youth services,” such as a university, the criminals could face jail time of up to 15 days. This bill was introduced by Communist Party members, Ivan Nikitchuk and Nikolai Arefyev.
“When this draft bill was initiated, it was so incredibly absurd that we were hoping it was going to be one of those initiatives that didn’t get any attention,” said Polina Andrianova, a member of the St. Petersburg LGBT rights organization, Coming Out. “But the fact that it’s scheduled for the first reading is a pretty bad sign.”
For now, LGBT advocates are not yet heavily and vocally opposing the law, and are only quietly circulating a petition. They are waiting to see if the Duma, Russia’s government, pursues the law farther after the first reading. For now, they don’t want to bring additional attention to such a disgusting pursuit.