From the Guardian:
Russia passes law banning gay 'propaganda'
Law will make it illegal to equate straight and gay relationships and to distribute gay rights material.
Russia's parliament has unanimously passed a federal law banning gay "propaganda" amid a Kremlin push to enshrine deeply conservative values that critics say has already led to a sharp increase in anti-gay violence.
The law passed 436-0 on Tuesday, with just one deputy abstaining from voting on the bill, which bans the spreading of "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" among minors.
The law in effect makes it illegal to equate straight and gay relationships, as well as the distribution of material on gay rights. It introduces fines for individuals and media groups found guilty of breaking the law, as well as special fines for foreigners.
Minutes after passing the anti-gay legislation, the Duma also approved a new law allowing jail sentences of up to three years for "offending religious feelings", an initiative launched in the wake of the trial against the anti-Kremlin punk band Pussy Riot.
The two laws were widely criticised by Russia's marginalised liberal and human rights communities and come amid a wider crackdown against independent civil activity in the country.
"I have sincere contempt for the Duma's deputies. All, including the so-called opposition. You have now brought fascism to my country," wrote Yelena Kostychenko, a journalist at the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper.
International rights groups have called the current situation in Russia the worst human rights climate in the post-Soviet era.
The two laws vastly boost the power of the Russian Orthodox church, a religious body that professes total allegiance to the state. Putin, who often makes a show of his faith, has increasingly called upon the church to fill his own ideological vacuum following a contested presidential election last year, accompanied by unprecedented protests against him.
Read the rest here.
And from George Stroumboulopoulos at the CBC:
Russian Lawmakers Pass A Bill Making It Illegal To Tell Children Homosexuality Exists
Russia's lower house of parliament has passed a law that imposes fines on anyone who provides information about homosexuality to people under 18.
The bill, approved by the State Duma, will officially become law once it's approved by the upper house and President Vladimir Putin, which is basically a formality, BBC Newsreports.
The bill's co-author, Yelena Mizulina, is head of the Duma's Committee for Family, Women, and Children. She says the idea is to protect Russian children from information that rejects "traditional family values."
"[The bill prohibits] the spreading of information aimed at forming nontraditional sexual attitudes among children," she said. "Secondly, [it prohibits] the imposition of information about nontraditional sexual relations that may cause interest among children."