(MOSCOW) — Standing in sharp contrast to the victories achieved by gay rights activists in the United States this past week, on Sunday Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law imposing fines for disseminating “homosexual propaganda” around minors.
Organizations that spread alleged homosexual propaganda to children face now fines of up to $30,000, while individuals can be charged with up to $1,500.
Putin’s signing of the bill was preceded on Saturday by an unsanctioned rally in which dozens of gay rights activists were assaulted in St Petersburg.
Putin defended the bill on Tuesday.
“It’s not about imposing some sort of sanctions on homosexuality,” he said. “It’s about protecting children from such information.”
Russia has a history of intolerance regarding homosexuality. It was illegal in the Soviet Union, and the Orthodox Church has been very vocal with its opposition. Requests for sanctioned pride parades have been denied, and in 2012 the musician Madonna was threatened with a fine for speaking out against the anti-gay bill.
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