Things keep getting worse for LGBT people in Russia.
Two years after the country banned so-called “gay propaganda,” some Russian lawmakers want to amend the prohibition by making the act of coming out a crime.
Under the proposed amendment, those with “non-traditional sexual orientation” could be fined for “demonstrating [their] own expressed sexual preferences in public places,” Newsweek reports. If they were to do so in schools, cultural establishments or government buildings, they could face up to 15 days in jail.
The two Communist lawmakers behind the proposal, Ivan Nikitchuk and Nikolay Arefievay, say the 2013 gay propaganda ban doesn’t go far enough:
“I believe that the problem we have raised is one of the most pressing and topical issues as it addresses the social ills of our society and deals with the moral education of the next generation,” Nikitchuk told Izvestia. “In the biological sense, not reproducing is the same as death and in that sense homosexuality is a lethal threat for the whole of humankind.”
“I think that the problem is acute and urgent because it concerns the social diseases of our society and the moral upbringing of the younger generation. Unfortunately, the mechanism suggested in the 2013 law ‘On the protection of children against the information that harms their health and development’ has proved to be ineffective and this prompted us to develop new measures.”
In an explanation attached to the amendment, Nikitchuk and Arefievay cite stricter laws against homosexuality in the Soviet Union and in ancient times. From the English-language news channel RT:
“In Athens during the classical period homosexuals had to report their vice to the people’s assembly and got stripped of their civil rights. Those who tried to conceal it were either exiled or executed. The laws of Ancient Sparta were even stricter – there were no reports, anyone who got caught was executed,” read the explanations attached to the bill.
In fact, public opposition to homosexuality has increased in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union. In a recent poll, 37 percent said LGBT people should be “isolated from society,” an increase from 28 percent who thought this in 1989, Newsweek reports. Twenty-one percent said they wanted to “liquidate” LGBT people.
However, the infamous author of the original gay propaganda ban, Vitaly Milonov, opposes the amendment, according to RT. Milonov says coming out is already prohibited under his gay propaganda ban. One Russian gay activist, Maria Bast, said she doesn’t believe the amendment will pass because Russia is trying to restore relations with the European Union.