President Vladimir Putin has signed a ‘gay propaganda’ bill into law.
According to an official publication, the Russian head of state signed it yesterday (29 June), as well as a law banning foreign gay couples from adopting in Russia, after the State Duma and Senate passed both laws unanimously.
The law will introduce fines of up to 5000 rubles ($150, €115) for individuals who promote information ‘directed at forming non-traditional sexual setup’ in minors.
It will be illegal to say gay relationships are equal to straight ones.
Gay rights campaigners say it will make homophobia legal and allow hate crimes nationwide.
The fines will go up to 200,000 rubles ($6k, €5k) for officials, and organizations will be shut down for 90 days and fined up to one million rubles ($30k, €23k).
Foreigners will not only be fined but arrested for 15 days and deported.
It comes a day after around 60 people were arrested and attacked for simply attempting to hold a gay pride march in St Petersburg.
Earlier this week, Putin denied the law was homophobic.
Putin added the rights of LGBT people in Russia are not violated under the ‘gay propaganda’ law, saying he must think of the rights of children.
‘They are full-fledged members of our society, and this law does not discriminate.’
Speaking to Gay Star News, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell called Putin the new ‘czar of homophobia’.
‘The whole propaganda of the Russian state pillories LGBT people 24/7. Putin is at the head of a regime at cultural war with the LGBT community,’ he said.
‘The European Union and Council of Europe are not doing enough to pressure Russian but even if they did I doubt his government would listen. Putin is taking Russia back to the dark days of Stalinism and czarism.’