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article imageRussia rejects bill to end 'all sex propaganda to minors'

By Mathew Wace Peck     Jun 18, 2014 in World
The State Duma, the lower house of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, has rejected a bill that would have banned the promotion of "all" sexual material aimed at minors.
The bill was drafted by Maria Maksakova-Ingebergs, an MP of of the centrist conservative United Russia, which holds the majority of seats in the Russian parliament.
According to a report by Russia Today (RT), "the MP wanted to recognize 'any information that promotes the priority of sexual relations before life values, spiritual and intellectual development [sic]' as harmful for the children’s health and development."
The measures, RT says, would have been "backed by fines for those publishing such concepts in the mass media, cinema and internet sites."
However, as RT details, the lower house Committee for Family, Women and Children opposed Maksakova-Ingebergs's draft, "claiming that Russian legislation already had bans on distributing information products containing sexual references among minors [and argued] that if the bill was passed it would practically replace the recently introduced ban on gay propaganda towards children" which it didn't want to do.
The law in question bans "the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations to minors," and came into force in 2013. It has been condemned by LGBT campaigners inside and outside of the Russian Federation, as well as by many politicians from around the world.
Just a few include the launch of a range of "gay-friendly" boxer shorts by Belgian designer Kristof Buntinx and the release of a "Welcome to Putin's Russia" pink-triangle Nazi-concentration-camp-like badge from Beware of Images. Elsewhere, the American screenwriter and Prison Break star Wentworth Miller turned down an invitation to the St Petersburg International Film Festival.
Last month, when the Canadian Olympic luge athlete John Fennell came out as gay, he said that he had been very fearful while taking part in the Sochi Winter Olympics; because of the warning given to athletes by the Canadian Olympic Committee that "any information in Russia is subject to being seen by the [Russian] government." which meant that the 19-year-old "didn't travel with [his] phone or [his] computer [...] a testament to how nervous I was [...] I was a basket case going to Russia.
As to the so-called "gay propaganda ban" itself, defenders of which (including Russia's President Vladimir Putin) repeatedly claim that the law is not discriminatory against gay people but only seeks to protect children; with no thought being given to those children and young people who may well be gay or think they are gay.
More about Maria Maksakova Ingebergs, Gay, gay propaganda laws, Vladimir putin, Duma
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