On the same day that Vladimir Putin called for the Orthodox Church (who by the way believe his stint as Russia’s ruler to be nothing short of a miracle) to have a stronger presence on state-run television channels, St. Petersburg lawmakers have passed the second reading of a bill that, if made law, would fine anyone advocating gay/lesbian/other non-heterosexual relationships, effectively outlawing gay pride parades, public displays of affection, and even conversations about homosexuality or transgender topics. The bill will have its third and final reading this Wednesday. Today’s reading was marked by a protest outside of a parliament building, at which a number of demonstrators were arrested. St. Petersburg’s gay rights’ group, ComingOut, condemned the bill for aiming to ‘legalise discrimination‘, and warned that totalitarianism and prejudice go hand in hand (Iran is a case in point). A similar law has already been passed in Astrakhan.
The Atlantic comments:
St. Petersburg has had a difficult time accepting gay folks […] And the struggle spreads beyond the city, too: Last month in Sovetsk, police detained several runners gathered for a marathon after mistaking the event for a gay-pride parade. All this despite Russia having perhaps the a leader who’s been hailed as a gay icon.