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Russia bans promotion of gay sex toward children

June 30, 2013 at 7:38 PM

MOSCOW, June 30 (UPI) -- It is now illegal to promote "non-traditional sexual relations" toward children in Russia, the country's official legal information website said Sunday.

Critics of the law say it is part of a wider crackdown on Russia's gay community. Proponents say they are trying to protect children from harmful influences, RIA Novosti said.

The bill President Vladimir Putin signed into law calls for fines of 800,000 rubles ($24,000) to 1 million rubles ($30,500) for legal entities, from 4,000 rubles ($120) to 5,000 rubles ($150) for individuals and from 40,000 rubles ($1,220) to 50,000 rubles ($1,530) for officials, RIA Novosti reported.

Those who promote "non-traditional sexual relations" through mass media or the Internet can be hit with stiffer penalties.

Legal entities may also be suspended for 90 days in addition to the fines.

Putin said last Tuesday the rights of sexual minorities in Russia were not being violated and "are full-fledged members of our society and are not being discriminated against in any way."

"It's not about imposing some sort of sanctions on homosexuality. ... It's about protecting children from such information," Putin said.

"Certain countries ... think that there is no need to protect [children] from this. ... But we are going to provide such protection the way that State Duma [parliamentary] lawmakers have decided."

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