Russian parliament overwhelmingly passes anti-gay bill

Johannesburg, June 12 (ANI): Russia's lower house has passed a bill that stigmatizes gay people and bans giving children any information about homosexuality.

The bill was passed with 436 votes in the 450-seat lower house, the Duma.

According to news24, the bill still needs to be passed by the upper house and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.

The measure is part of an effort to promote traditional Russian values instead of Western liberalism.

Lawmakers have accused gays of decreasing Russia's already low birth rates, saying they should be barred from government jobs, undergo forced medical treatment or be exiled.

Before the anti-gay vote, rights activists attempted to hold a kissing rally outside the State Duma, but they were attacked by hundreds of Orthodox Christian activists and members of pro-Kremlin youth groups.

The legislation will impose hefty fines for providing information about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community to minors or holding gay pride rallies.

Foreign citizens arrested under the new law can be deported or jailed for up to 15 days and then deported.

Lyudmila Alexeyeva, one of Russia's oldest and most prominent rights activists, called the law 'a step towards the Middle Ages'. (ANI)

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