MYPLACE team members at Centre for Youth Research, Higher School of Economics (St Petersburg) present their latest blog on the passing of a new law against the propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia.
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On the 8th February, the St Petersburg parliament adopted a law at second reading directed against the propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia. In his Twitter post on the 8th of February (http://twitter.com/stephenfry) Stephen Fry responded to the deputies’ decision thus: “God damn it! We need to do something to stop these fantastic monsters! They mean that Tchaikovsky will be prohibited? ”, The law caused protest among the LGBT community and mass media at the end of last year when it was proposed for discussion by Vitaly Milonov, a deputy of the ruling party “United Russia”. Sexual minority groups organized several street protests, signatures were collected against the law and expert opinions mobilized to critique the claim that gays are the same as pedophiles. Since the scandal coincided with the eve of Parliamentary elections, the further progress of the law was postponed until a more appropriate moment.
Vitaly Milonov, having secured his place in the Saint-Petersburg Parliament, returned to this subject during the first session of the renewed parliament and clarified what is supposed to be the “propaganda” of homosexuality. It was defined, specifically, as the uncontrolled and purposeful distribution of information which creates the “distorted perception of the social equivalence of traditional and non-conventional marital relations”.
“Fontanka,” the news agency journalist that was present during the second reading mentioned that the deputies preferred to discuss not the wording but the topic of the bill itself (http://www.fontanka.ru/2012/02/08/156/ ). As a result the bill was adopted by 31 votes to 6. After the third reading the bill will need to be signed by the Government who was the main initiator for its discussion in the Parliament, according to the political analyst Stanisal Belkovsky.
Whether by accident or design, during the discussion of the projected law, the Agency of Social Technologies “Politekh” distributed the results of a phone survey that was commissioned by the Public Chamber in 149 cities in Russia in November 2011http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=44164. According to the data, 74% of respondents regard homosexuality as a vicious perversion of human nature. 79% consider that same-sex marriages should not to be allowed inRussia. 87% support the prohibition of gay-parades. 82% think that homosexuals should not be allowed to teach and work with children or young people.
The “Politekh” report indicates that one of the purposes of the survey was to analyze which views – secular liberal or traditional religious – are supported by Russian people. The results of other sociological research are given (a quantitative survey) showing that Russians think that morality has declined in comparison to the USSR period. The opponents of the proposed law discussed in the Parliament also mention the USSR but in another context – they reminded us that during this period gays were considered criminals and jailed.