The Russian city of St Petersburg has proposed a law that bans the promotion of ‘gay propaganda’, a move led by the governing United Russia party. It has been condemned by LGBT rights organisations across the world.
The law would see people or organisations fined up to £1,000 for the so-called "promotion" of homosexuality, similar to Section 28 enacted in 1988 in the UK. The Russian law stands alongside identical bans on ‘propaganda’ for paedophilia. It would also put a blanket ban on gay Pride events, which have been a contentious issue in recent years.
The Kaleidoscope Trust asserts that this law infringes human rights and has requested that the UK government take action against the proposed ban on LGBT activity in St Petersburg. The Trust has urged Britain to use its chairmanship of the Council of Europe to organise a coordinated complaint to the Russian authorities and has welcomed today's announcement by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that action will be taken.
The FCO stated, ‘The message of this law, that homosexuality is unacceptable, let alone in any way similar to a crime like paedophilia, is wrong. It goes against European and Russian commitments to human rights, including the guarantee of non-discrimination set out in the European Convention on Human Rights.
Lance Price, Director of the Kaleidoscope Trust, said, ‘International pressure on the authorities is working and the intervention of the FCO is greatly welcomed. Consideration of the bill in the St Petersburg legislature has now been delayed by a week. We hope that our government, in conjunction with others around the world, will maintain the pressure to ensure that this pernicious legislation, which is already in force in two parts of the Russian federation, goes no further. It's scope is much wider that Britain's notorious section 28 and would have a massive impact on the rights of LGBT people.’