Russia’s State Duma could take state-sponsored homophobia to a whole new level next week when they will vote on a strict new law that would make coming out illegal and would also ban public displays of affection among gay men.
Russia has already become one of the world’s most homophobic nations in recent years, with polls shwoing 74 percent of Russian citizens surveyed saying that “society should not accept homosexuality” and a law passed in 2013 banning “gay propaganda.”
The State Duma is slated to decide the fate of the law on Tuesday, Jan. 19, a bill first introduced in October by two senior Russian MPs – Ivan Nikitchuk and Nikolai Arefyev.
Nikitchuk published a blog post on the Communist party site calling homosexuality “a deadly threat to all humanity.”
The bill calls for people who come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, to be imprisoned for up to 15 days.
In addition, any public displays of affection among gay men would result in jail time and a fine of up to 5,000 rubles.
The public affection portion of the bill does not apply to women because according to the legislators they are more “reasonable” and able to “manage their emotions.”
“We do not prohibit that these people do what they do. But let them do it under a blanket or under the bed. But let them not demonstrate to the public their sympathies and aspirations,” said Nikitchuk, according to Gayrussia.eu.
The penalties also extend to people who signing a gay rights petition, stating online that they are LGBT, or holding hands with another man on the street.
“We have our own idea of honor and conscience, and we must respect tradition,” said Nikitchuk, according to a translation provided by Gay Star News. “The scum that comes to us from the West is unnatural to Russia.” He added: “These unconventional sexual desires do nothing but disgust normal, smart, healthy people. It is sick that disgusting people feel they should be treated the same.”
Nikitchuk argues that his proposed law is necessary because he feels the current ban on gay propaganda isn’t strong enough.
The 2013 law banning “the promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships” with fines up to 1 million rubles, passed with a nearly unanimous vote in the State Duma—of 436 lawmakers present, only one abstained and no one voted against it, according to the DailyDot.
Nikitchuk predicted that the coming-out ban would passed successfully next week.
“I do not think that the MPs dare to express their explicit support for homosexuals,” Nikitchuk said.
Tanya Cooper of Human Rights Watch criticised the proposal, saying: “This draft law is a new and absurd low in discriminatory legislative proposals. “The draft proposes to effectively outlaw being gay, and just being yourself could land you behind bars.”