Russian President Vladimir Putin signs expanded anti-LGBTQ+ law

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Russian President Vladimir Putin signed expanded anti-LGBTQ+ legislation on Monday. The law was originally introduced by the lower house of Russia’s legislature in October, and banned so-called “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” for both adults and minors, said a statement by the State Duma. The original bill passed both the lower and upper chambers of Russian legislature before being signed into law by Putin. 

All positive depictions of the LGBTQ+ community in literature, film, television, online, and more will now be illegal in Russia. 

A man showing a picture of Vladimir Putting during a protest
A man showing a picture of Vladimir Putting during a protest supporting LGBTQ+ people in 2017.

Marcos del Mazo/LightRocket via Getty Images


“The initiatives propose punishment for the promotion and justification of non-traditional sexual relations in the media, the Internet, literature and cinema,” the statement from the State Duma read, describing the imposition of intimidating fines against individuals, organizations and businesses that the State deems as violating the new legislation. 

The fines range from 100,000 to 4 million rubles, or roughly $1,660 to $66,000. Non-Russian citizens would face expulsion from the country should they be found in violation of the law.

The law was authored by Chairman of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin, who said in the State Duma statement, “We have traditions, a conscience, an understanding that we need to think about children, families, the country, and preserve what our parents have passed on to us,” while citing data that shows increased numbers of people who identify as LGBTQ+ in Europe and the U.S.

“We must do everything to protect our children and those who want to live a normal life. Everything else is sin, sodomy, darkness, and our country is fighting this,” he said. 

The law has been denounced by many activists and political figures, including U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who called it a “serious blow to freedom of expression and the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons in Russia” in Tweet last month after the proposed law passed unanimously through the lower court.

This new piece of legislation builds on a 2013 Russian law that banned the so-called “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to children specifically. The new law now includes adults as well. 

Shortly before the State Duma approved the 2013 legislation in a 436-0 vote, people protesting the bill’s passing were attacked by those with anti-LGBTQ+ viewpoints before being detained by police.

Though Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993, amendments to the Russian Constitution in 2020 banned LGBTQ+ unions in the country — an action that was declared a human rights violation by the European Court of Human Rights. Putin has even previously said that Russia must “cleanse” itself of homosexuality.

Russian LGBTQ+ rights activists
Russian LGBTQ+ rights activists take part in a rally in central Moscow in 2017 to mark five years since the anti-Putin protest on Bolotnaya Square that led to dozens of arrests and injuries on both police and protesters sides.

KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images


Russia has also been criticized in recent years for its treatment of LGBTQ+ people in Chechnya, whose mayor denounced homosexuality in 2017, stating “We don’t have those kinds of people here.” Chechen members of the LGBTQ+ community have accused police in the Russian republic of kidnapping and torture.

While the Kremlin has not yet announced Putin’s signature on this latest anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, it was shown on a copy of the measure published on the State Duma website, according to the Associated Press.

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