Russia’s lower house of parliament on Thursday passed a new law banning all forms of “gay propaganda,” as well as the “propaganda of pedophilia and sex change” among adults.
The bill passed unanimously after the third reading in the State Duma, according to a news release.
The legislation still needs to pass in the Russian parliament’s upper chamber, the Federation Council, and be signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin to become law.
Vyacheslav Volodin, chairman of the State Duma and the author of the bill, said on his Telegram channel the legislation enforces the ban on the promotion of LGBTQ propaganda through a fine of up to 10 million rubles, or about $165,000.
“The solution will protect our children, the future of the country from the darkness spread by the United States and European states,” Volodin wrote. “We have our own traditions and values.”
Russia, one of the most hostile places for the LGBTQ community, has already banned “gay propaganda” among minors and has used the law to detain activists and stop gay pride marches.
In 2020, Russia passed amendments to its constitution explicitly outlawing same-sex marriage in the country.
Under the newly introduced law passed by the State Duma, LGBTQ “propaganda” will be heavily restricted, including in advertising and film.
In addition to the fines, the law would also be enforced through the threat of expulsion for “foreign citizens and stateless persons.”
In speeches, Putin has repeatedly insulted and mocked the LGBTQ community, often accusing the U.S. and the West of spreading LGBTQ propaganda.
During the parliament session, Volodin said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had called to ask the legislative body to withdraw the bill, according to State Duma’s news release.
Volodin said the U.S. was imposing “alien values” on Russia and the unanimous vote was “the best answer to Blinken.”
The Hill has reached out to the State Department for comment.
Dilya Gafurova, the head of LGBTQ rights group Sfera, told Agence France-Presse that it was “disturbing that the state is saying LGBT+ people are a Western invention.”
“There is nothing wrong with us and nothing that needs to be hushed up,” she said.