On Friday, Jan. 25, the State Duma gave the first reading to the draft bill on banning propaganda of homosexuality among minors. The discussion turned out to be quite a heated one. LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky cracked down on the bill, ripping it to pieces.
The bill was introduced by the legislative assembly of the Novosibirsk region in March 2012. The document stipulates penalties tor the propaganda of homosexuality among minors: for individuals from 4,000 to 5,000 rubles ($150-200), from 40,000 to 50,000 rubles ($1,300-1,800) for officials and from 400,000 to 500,000 rubles for legal entities ($13,000-17,000).
As a matter of fact, the bill is a replica of the similar law that is currently in force in Saint Petersburg: the document contains the same same amounts of penalties. The bill was penned by deputy of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly Vitaly Milonov. Despite the media controversy, the law was passed in late February of 2012.
It was actually the media controversy that caused an avalanche of criticism of the bill from Vladimir Zhirinovsky. "Under the guise of propaganda of homosexuality, there is rabid propaganda of homosexuality going on. This weirdo in St. Petersburg started it, an for six months the media were saying - "he says," "he demands." "Finally, the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly passed the law. Afterwards, they passed it in some other regions, and now they want to pass in in Moscow. Then there was a brawl near the State Duma on Wednesday (supporters and opponents of the bill fought; the clashes reoccurred on Friday. - ed.)," said the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party during the morning session of the State Duma.
According to Vladimir Zhirinovsky, if deputies pass the bill, "people will be discussing it for a long time afterwards." "Then they will start passing it in all subjects of the Russian Federation, and again the press will be spreading it all," he said.
Zhirinovsky came to a somewhat paradoxical conclusion. "This will be exactly what the West needs." In Europe, reminded Vladimir Zhirinovsky, same-sex marriages and adoptions by same-sex parents were already allowed.
According to Elena Mizulina, the head of the Duma committee for family, women's and children's affairs, before May 23, it was expected to collect amendments to the second reading of the law. From this one may conclude that the bill will not be passed in the first reading.
Mizulina told Interfax news agency that the law could be adopted at the end of the spring session (i.e. in July), only if all amendments were coordinated. Otherwise, the law will be rescheduled for the fall.
Elena Mizulina also stated that there would be a work group established for the second reading, in which representatives of the gay community will be included.
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