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MOSCOW, June 7 (Itar-Tass) - Russia’s State Duma plans to increase fines for propaganda of homosexuality to one million roubles, thus having made radical changes to the bill, which caused protests of the gay community.
The deputies plan banning adoption of Russian children by homosexual families, with which the president has agreed already. The authorities stress -- in Russia, rights of people with different sexual orientation are not violated.
The committee on family affairs has drafted addendums for the second reading of the bill banning propaganda of homosexuality. The document’s new variant replaces the word homosexuality with “non-traditional sexual relations.” “This was done so that nobody accuses our law of homosexuality propaganda,” head of the State Duma’s committee on affairs of family, women and children Elena Mizulina said.
On June 11, the State Duma may adopt jointly in the second and third readings the bill on fines for propaganda of “non-traditional sexual relations” among children. The first reading adopted the bill on January 25, 2013. The text, offered by Novosibirsk’s legislators, was clear: it introduced to the Administrative Code a new offence called “Public propaganda of homosexuality among the underaged.”
However, by the second reading, the text received many addendums. Mizulina said, over several months, the committee had received several hundreds of letters, where most authors supported the bill, but about 25,000 were against it. All suggestions have been considered and were reflected in the final version, she said.
The document grew to seven pages and suggests changes not only to the Administrative Code, but also to the laws on protecting children from information, which damages their health and development, and that on the basic guarantees of children’s rights in the Russian Federation. The information, which “promotes non-traditional sexual relations,” now will be limited in place, time and form, likewise obscene language, pornography, and violence scenes are.
“Our bill does not ban gay parades, but they will be possible only in places, where presence of children is excluded absolutely,” Mizulina said. “In a field, in a forest.”
Compared to the first version, the new variant doubles fines for companies - from 400-500 thousand roubles to 800,000 - one million roubles. Individuals may have to pay a fine of 4-5 thousand roubles, and officials - between 40 and 50 thousand roubles.
Additional tough measures of punishment will be applicable for propaganda in the media. A fine for individuals may make from 50 to 100 thousand roubles, for officials - between 100 and 200 thousand roubles, and for companies - one million roubles or suspension of activities for up to 90 days.
If a violation is committed by a foreign citizen, he or she may be fined or arrested for up to 15 days to be further on sent out from the Russian Federation.
The Gazeta.Ru, an online newspaper, asked Mizulina if Madonna will be expelled from Russia should she be wearing during her performance a t-shirt with a drawing of kissing men. The deputy said she would not rule out a scenario of the kind.
Mizulina continued, saying the bill was not hazardous - on the contrary, it protected children. “We are not banning generally propaganda of homosexuality; among the adults or at special clubs - please, go ahead, and we are not introducing criminal responsibility for sodomy, as it used to be back in the times of the USSR,” she said.
Head of Russia’s Human Rights Council Mikhail Fedotov says the bill contains a dangerous tendency - splitting the society on the basis of sexual orientation. “A law should not differentiate between a person’s hair colour and orientation.”
He said also, the Criminal Code contained already the norm, which bans propaganda of any sexual relations among people under the legal age.
Meanwhile, the State Duma is drafting addendums to the Family Code, which suggest banning foreign adoption by homosexual couples. Presently, Russia bans homosexual adoption inside the country. Children’s Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov suggested prohibiting adoption of Russian orphans by citizens of France, where homosexual marriages had become legal.
“Clearly, we should undertake measures, as adoption by homosexual families does not comply with our country’s legislation,” Astakhov said.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin announced if the parliament adopted a law of the kind, he would sign it.
“As for the law, which would limit adoption of children from Russia by homosexual families, I do not have a bill on that, I have not seen it. If the parliament adopts the law, I shall sign it,” Vladimir Putin told a news conference on June 4 following the Russia-EU summit in Yekaterinburg.
“I believe, in this aspect, our legislation is rather liberal, there is no discrimination whatsoever. People of any preferences are working in Russia, they climb the ladder. We recognise them at the state level for the achievements in the sphere where they work,” the president said.
However, he is sure it would be best not to highlight the problems. “We all should be more tolerant and should demonstrate less aggression. This is applicable in relation to people of traditional orientation and those of non-traditional one. Less aggression, less highlighting of those problems. This would be to the benefit of all,” the president said.
Many politicians and officials have spoken, and rather drastically, against adoption of Russian children by same-sex families. For example, Deputy Head of the State Duma’s core committee Olga Batalina announced it would be then better to send orphans to an orphanage rather than to a gay-family. She referred to “research by both Russian and American psychologists,” and said upbringing in a non-traditional family affects health and wellbeing of children.