Rev. Sergiy Rybko says, “Until this scum gets off of Russian land, I fully share the views of those who are trying to purge our motherland of it.”
Pavel Samburoy earned 30 hours of detention and a fine on a charge of “hooliganism” after kissing his boyfriend in front of Russia’s parliament. But if legislation set for a vote later this month is passed, a public kiss such as this could be labeled illegal “homosexual propaganda” and have a much harsher penalty. The Associated Press reports,
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. Those who support the new legislation assert that minors need to be protected because they are “unable to evaluate the information critically.” The law claims that the mass media and public events that promote gay-rights encourage the belief that homosexuality is normal behavior.
The bill is only part of a broader effort to advocate traditional Russian values instead of Western liberalism. Both the Kremlin and the church see this Western liberalism as corrupting Russian youth, and creating general discontent and protests against the rule of President Vladimir Putin. Other laws aimed at protecting Russian youth have been hurriedly enacted in recent months as well. Legislation that allows the banning and blocking of web content and print publications which have been deemed “extremist” and “unfit for young audiences.”
While some of these recent laws have generated mild disquiet among the general populace, the proposed legislation against homosexual “propaganda” has been met either with indifference, or in many instances even open enthusiasm by Russian citizens. Polls carried out last year found that almost two thirds of Russians believe homosexuality to be “morally unacceptable and worth condemning.” And almost a third think, “homosexuality is the result of a sickness or a psychological trauma.”
This widespread hostility toward homosexuality is also shared by Russia’s political and religious elite. Russia’s already low birth rate has been blamed on gays, and lawmakers have argued that homosexuals should be barred from any governmental jobs, should undergo “forced medical treatment,” and even be exiled. One television executive with a government-run network went so far as to say, “gays should be prohibited from donating blood, sperm and organs for transplants, while after death their hearts should be burned or buried,” on a nationally televised talk show.
Bagaudin Abduljalilov, a 30-year-old homosexual man from Dagestan in southern Russia who moved to Moscow to escape persecution for being gay said,
I love Russia, but I want another Russia. It’s a pity I can’t spend my life on creative projects instead of banging my head against the wall and repeating, “I’m normal, I’m normal.”