Russia: Jail Term for Gay Couple Holding Hands in Public

Gay couple

Russian politicians will be debating this week over the issue of banning public display of affection by gay couple.

As reported by Mirror, if passed, this would be the country’s most aggressive anti-gay legislation.  The implementation of this legislation would see gay couples jailed for two weeks for kissing or even holding hands in public. It is considered as Vladimir Putin’s push back against non-traditional sexual relationships.

In 2013 Russia passed a draconian law that banned “gay propaganda”. The law banned any public speech, writing or demonstrations which equalize gay couple and gay relationship to straight ones, stating that it might influence children.

Ivan Nikitchuk, a member of communist party and one of the bill’s sponsors in the State of Duma, said, “homosexuality is a huge threat to every normal person, which can affect children or grandchildren, and thus interrupt the race”.

He further stated, “excuse me, this is Russia. We have a country where tradition has always been respected, where people have had and continue to have a conscience, an understanding of shame. And all these kissing bearded men do not evoke anything besides vomit”.

He also asserted that the new law would not affect women because they consider women as more reasonable.

President Vladimir Putin, during an interview, claimed, “the problem of sexual minorities in Russia had been deliberately exaggerated from the outside for political reasons, I believe, without any good basis.” He also said that Russia allowed people in non-traditional sexual orientation to live peacefully. He further emphasized that he believed that there should not be any criminal prosecution of people’s right on the basis of their ethnicity, religion, race and sexual orientation.

However, in September last year, five online LGBT youth groups were banned by Russian watchdogs. Barnaul city’s district court imposed the ban on the groups.

Tanya Cooper, a Russian researcher for Human Rights Watch, said that the ban could further escalate the rabid homophobia and transphobia in Russia. She stated that the ban would put LGBT Russians at further risk of inequity and aggression.

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