Russia: Duma Committee Comes Out Against Antigay Bill

The Russian State Duma Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State-Building has declined to endorse a controversial draft bill that would introduce fines and arrests for people who publicly express their homosexuality. The parliamentary committee advised that the Duma unanimously vote against the bill in the event it reached a first reading.

The bill, initiated by lawmakers from the Communist Party and condemned as discriminatory by human rights activists, called for fines of up to 5,000 rubles (~ $65) for publicly expressing "nontraditional sexual orientation." The bill also proposed punishing those who express homosexuality at educational or cultural institutions with arrest and up to 15 days in jail. 

Communist lawmaker Igor Nikitchuk, one of the bill’s authors, defended the legislation during a meeting of the committee, calling homosexuality a “contagious disease” and a “threat to society,” as other lawmakers snickered.

Lawmaker Dmitry Gudkov, a rare anti-Kremlin opposition politician in the State Duma, wrote that the recommendation to reject the bill was made for "formal reasons."   Read more via Radio Free Europe