Russian President Putin Signs Law Outlawing Gay Propaganda

Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, signed into law on Sunday a bill prohibiting the "propagation" of information relating to homosexuality in the country, invoking heavy fines on those who seek to spread information about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to minors.

The bill, which was approved by Russia's parliament last month, fines an individual propagating homosexuality with 5,000 rubles ($156), while a group or company spreading information about the LGBT community is fined up to 1 million rubles ($30,000).

The law focuses specifically on the use of media and the Internet to propagate information and also bans the holding of pro-gay rallies anywhere in the country.

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According to Bloomberg, the official publication of the bill, which was released Sunday, focuses specifically on the "obtrusive spreading of information about non-traditional sexual relationships that may arouse interest in such relationships."

Earlier this week, President Putin denied that the bill was an attack on the gay community, saying he believes it will serve as a protection for the country's younger generations.

"We are talking about protecting children from the respective information," he said, requesting that other countries not interfere with Russia's form of regulation.

While speaking in Amsterdam in April, Putin, who is supported by the Russian Orthodox Church, said, "I want everyone to understand that in Russia there are no infringements on sexual minorities' rights."

"They're people, just like everyone else, and they enjoy full rights and freedoms," he added, according to Bloomberg News.

The Russian Duma, or the lower house of parliament, voted earlier in June to approve the anti-propaganda bill, with lawmaker Yelena Mizulina saying at the time that the purpose of banning pro-gay propaganda is "for the preservation and development of the multi-ethnic Russian people."

"It is precisely these relations that need special protection by the state," Mizulina said.

Putin's approval of the bill comes one day after protesters opposing homosexuality clashed with a pro-gay rally in St. Petersburg, resulting in dozens of arrests, according to The Guardian.

According to a Pew Research Center survey released in early June, only 16 percent of Russians said "society should accept homosexuality," compared to 60 percent of Americans.

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