A bill put forth by the conservative political party United Russia in the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly calls for a fine of up to $1,600 for "public actions aimed at propaganda of pederasty, lesbianism, bisexuality, and transgenderism among minors." Reached by the Associated Press, Russian gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev of the GayRussia.ru group warns that the bill could be a slippery slope, saying "It theoretically allows the ban of anything anywhere where kids could be present."
Even more frightening, according to the St. Petersburg Times (the city's biggest English newspaper), is that "Russian officials are talking about expanding the anti-'gay propaganda' law proposed by Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev's party to the entire nation."
Amnesty International spoke out against the bill, calling it "draconian," "homophobic," and that it would "threaten freedom of expression and fuel discrimination against the city's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community."
"This bill is a thinly veiled attempt to legalize discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people in Russia's second-biggest city," said Nicola Duckworth, Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia Programme Director. "The notion that LGBTI rights activists are somehow converting Russia's youth through 'propaganda' would be laughable, if the potential effects of this new law weren't so dangerous and wide-reaching."
The online LGBT activism website allout.org launched a worldwide petition to put pressure on Russian leaders to abandon this unjust bill. You, and everyone else you know, can sign it here.