Vladimir Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church are supporting a new law that would make it illegal to protest in favor of gay rights in that nation and punish the dissemination of “homosexual propaganda.” Because the church is always happy to oppress those they disapprove of if they can get the power to do so.
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. St. Petersburg and a number of other Russian cities already have similar laws on their books.
The bill is part of an effort to promote traditional Russian values as opposed to Western liberalism, which the Kremlin and church see as corrupting Russian youth and by extension contributing to a wave of protest against President Vladimir Putin’s rule.
I think a few wingnut heads may explode when they find out that “traditional Russian values” are identical to those “traditional American values” they like to blather on about.
Levada polls conducted last year show that almost two thirds of Russians find homosexuality “morally unacceptable and worth condemning.” About half are against gay rallies and same-sex marriage; almost a third think homosexuality is the result of “a sickness or a psychological trauma,” the Levada surveys show.
Russia’s widespread hostility to homosexuality is shared by the political and religious elite.
Lawmakers have accused gays of decreasing Russia’s already low birth rates and said they should be barred from government jobs, undergo forced medical treatment or be exiled. Orthodox activists criticized U.S. company PepsiCo for using a “gay” rainbow on cartons of its dairy products. An executive with a government-run television network said in a nationally televised talk show that gays should be prohibited from donating blood, sperm and organs for transplants, while after death their hearts should be burned or buried.
There’s something of a reverse Overton window at work here. In a nation with a long history of repressive policies and little respect for individual rights, the church and the political elite can get away with taking a much harsher stand than is acceptable in the United States.