by Dan Savage
on Mon, Jan 21, 2013 at 12:31 PM
Today the president of the United States recognized that the struggles for women's rights (Seneca Falls), the civil rights of African Americans (Selma), and LGBT rights (Stonewall) are all the same fight: the fight for freedom and equality for all citizens. And in Russia today...
Kissing his boyfriend during a protest in front of Russia‘s parliament earned Pavel Samburov 30 hours of detention and the equivalent of a $16 fine on a charge of “hooliganism.” But if a bill that comes up for a first vote later this month becomes law, such a public kiss could be defined as illegal “homosexual propaganda” and bring a fine of up to $16,000.
The legislation being pushed by the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church would make it illegal nationwide to provide minors with information that is defined as “propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism.” It includes a ban on holding public events that promote gay rights. St. Petersburg and a number of other Russian cities already have similar laws on their books.... Samburov describes the anti-gay bill as part of a Kremlin crackdown on minorities of any kind—political and religious as well as sexual—designed to divert public attention from growing discontent with Putin’s rule.
Gay activists were beaten up by an angry crowd during an authorized protest on Sunday. In the city of Voronezh in southwest Russia, gay rights activists held a protest against a nationwide homophobia bill that will be discussed in parliament soon. Several hundred people opposing gay rights gathered near a monument to poet Ivan Nikitin to seal off all approaches to it to prevent the picket from taking place. When about ten gay activists appeared, the crowd pelted them with snowballs and then beat them up. According to the Associated Press, at least one of the picketers had to seek medical assistance. The legislation currently being pushed by the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church would make it illegal nationwide to provide minors with information defined as ‘homosexual propaganda.’ It would include a ban on holding public events that promote gay rights, a bill St Petersburg already banning Gay Pride for 100 years.
The Russian consulate that handles affairs for Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming is located in downtown Seattle.