St. Petersburg, December 1, Interfax - A bill imposing an administrative penalty for propaganda promoting homosexuality and pedophilia among minors has been evaluated by the Russian Constitutional Court, said St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly member Vitaly Milonov, who authored the bill.
"This bill underwent a verification procedure at the Constitutional Court, which gave a clear definition to the term 'homosexual propaganda," Milonov told a press conference in St. Petersburg.
The bill does not discriminate in any way against homosexuals, Milonov said.
For his part, St. Petersburg Speaker Vadim Tyulpanov said he was surprised by the negative U.S. reaction to the bill.
"The U.S. Department of State has nothing else to do but mind our bill," he told a press conference that focused on the results of the fourth term of the legislature.
Thanks to the debate surrounding this document, the St. Petersburg parliament has become famous across the world, he said.
"While the bill was debated, I started receiving e-mails from city residents supporting the bill. Over 90% of St. Petersburg citizens support the bill," Tyulpanov said.
On November 16, the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly approved on first reading a bill imposing administrative liability for homosexual and pedophile propaganda among minors. In presenting the bill, author Vitaly Milonov said the bill must be passed to protect children from destructive information.
Under the bill, homosexual propaganda will entail a fine of 1,000-3,000 rubles for individuals, 3,000-5,000 rubles for officials and 10,000-50,000 rubles for companies.
President of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko voiced support for the bill.
For her part, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that Washington is concerned by the proposal to pass this bill as it seriously restricts the freedom of self-expression and the freedom of assembly for sexual minorities. The U.S. administration believes that the rights of homosexuals are an integral part of human rights.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Nuland's statement is inappropriate and represents an act of interference in Russia's legislative process. "We are perplexed by the American side's attempts to interfere in the legislative process in Russia, especially publicly. We view the attempt as inappropriate and inconsistent with the practice of interstate relations," Dolgov said, answering a question from Interfax.