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(Feb 24, 2012) On February 8, 2012, the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg, Russia's second largest city and one of the constituent components of the Russian Federation, approved on a second reading a bill amending the Law of St. Petersburg on Administrative Violations (Misdemeanors). When this Law is passed, the promotion of information among minors about homosexuals, bisexuals, transgendered persons, and lesbians will be prohibited in St. Petersburg and will be punishable by a fine in an amount equal to approximately US$170 if conducted by private citizens and up to US$1,700 if performed by officials. The fine will increase up to approximately US$17,000 for legal entities. (Parlament Peterburga Prinial vo Vtorom Chtenii Zakon Protiv Geev (Petersburg's Parliament Passed an Anti-Gay Law on Its Second Reading), NEWSRU.COM (Feb. 8, 2012).)

According to the text of the amendments published on the website of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly, the bill defines public actions aimed at promoting gay activities as "targeted and uncontrolled distribution of information that may damage the health, moral, and spiritual development of minors and form among them a wrong understanding of social equality between traditional and untraditional marriage relations." (Amendment to the Bill on Amending the Law of St. Petersburg on Administrative Violations [in Russian], St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly website (last visited Feb. 21, 2012).)

Simultaneously, the bill prohibits actions aimed at "creation of a wrong understanding that intimate relations between an adult and a minor are socially adequate and acceptable." Such acts are recognized as advocacy of pedophilia and are subject to the same punishment. (Id.)

Established legislative procedures provide that a law is passed after it is approved by city legislators in three readings. As a rule, all substantive changes to the bill are made during the second reading. Usually, the third reading is used for finalizing the act, and only editorial changes are made at that stage. (St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly Resolution No. 9 of December 12, 1994, on Approving Rules of Internal Procedure [in Russian], art. 59, Legislative Assembly website (last visited Feb. 21, 2012).)

Similar laws against the dissemination of information about homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexualism, and lesbianism were recently passed in three other constituent components of the Russian Federation. (Petersburg's Parliament Passed an Anti-Gay Law on Its Second Reading, supra.)

Author: Peter Roudik More by this author
Topic: Human rights and civil liberties More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Russia More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 02/24/2012