Russian lawmakers give preliminary approval to new anti-LGBTQ bill

LGBTQ activist holding rainbow flag amid crowd in St. Petersburg, Russia
An LGBTQ rights activist holds a rainbow flag amid a crowd of journalists during a protest in St. Petersburg, Russia, in August 2015.
(Dmitry Lovetsky / Associated Press)

Russian lawmakers gave preliminary approval Thursday to a bill that imposes tough new restrictions on activities to promote LGBTQ rights in the country.

A 2013 Russian law banned what authorities deem to be “propaganda” that children might be exposed to concerning “non-traditional sexual relations.” The law has been used to stifle debate in any public context and to prevent demonstrations or any public gatherings with pro-LGBTQ content that a child could conceivably see or hear.

International human rights groups denounced the law for creating a hostile environment for LGBTQ Russians.


The new bill, which the lower house of Russia’s parliament unanimously approved on the first of three readings, ramps up the restrictions by banning the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” entirely, not just among those under age 18.

Life for LGBTQ people in Ukraine had been improving, while Russian President Vladimir Putin has systematically attacked gay and transgender people.

March 3, 2022

It outlaws advertising, media and online resources, books, films and theater productions deemed to contain such content.

With regard to minors, the new bill expands the existing restrictions by banning information about gender transitions.

Violations are punishable by fines and, if committed by non-residents, could lead to their expulsion from Russia.

State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said the proposed bill could be toughened further during its second reading, when lawmakers introduce amendments.