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St. Petersburg prohibits citizens from showing public support for gay rights

February 29, 2012

St. Petersburg lawmakers recently passed a controversial bill that many see as a step backward for the Russian city. The new legislation gives law enforcement officers the right to fine individuals and companies for spreading "propaganda" in favor of homosexuality. According to Reuters, the bill claims positive information can "damage the health, moral and spiritual development of the underaged. Until 1993, homosexuality was a crime that could land a gay Russian in jail, and the gay community is still struggling to overcome widespread prejudice.

"The bill is faulty from the legal point of view, and it is an attempt to violate the rights of homosexuals," Olga Lenkova, spokeswoman for sexual minorities rights group Vykhod, told the news source.

The Independent reports the bill is aimed at teen clubs and social media. The passing of this legislation has outraged many social rights groups in Russia and around the world, as it violates Russian and international laws. Those who want to discuss the issue can make calls to Russia with international phone cards.

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