A Russian editor was fined yesterday (29 January) for printing an interview with a gay teacher who said ‘being gay is normal’.
Alexander Suturin, chief editor of a Khabarovsk newspaper, is the fourth person to be officially charged with violating the federal gay propaganda ban.
The former educator had said: ‘My very existence is proof being gay is normal.’
Suturin was found guilty by a judge this week, and was fined half the maximum fine.
He was fined 50,000 roubles ($1,400, €1,000). With the average monthly salary in the region at 15,000 roubles, it’s an extortionate fine.
The prosecutor claimed the editor had broken ‘traditional family values’ and was promoting ‘genderless and fruitless so-called tolerance’.
By publishing a quote saying homosexuality was normal, Suturin was charged with ‘distorting’ the picture of society and such a statement is ‘contrary to the laws of logic’.
The judge said if children read the article, it will lead them to believe ‘serial killers’ are also normal.
It is yet unknown whether Suturin’s newspaper will face closure by the Russian authorities.
The editor’s defense said his client should not be charged with gay propaganda as he had not actually promoted anything, just informed the readers about a person’s opinion.
Gay rights activists fear that by ignoring this, it could mean organizations that are not government propaganda machines will face harsh restrictions and fines if the authorities do not like what they publish.
Suturin will be appealing the decision in a higher court.