Russia’s State Duma on Wednesday took another step toward passing a law that would ban the distribution of material promoting “non-traditional sexual relations,” and cited the growing debate over LGBTQ rights and gender fluidity in the U.S. as a reason for the law.
The bill under consideration at the State Duma, Russia’s lower house, would prohibit websites from distributing materials related to LGBTQ or those that might prompt children to seek gender reassignment surgery. It also blocks the sale of physical products dealing with these issues, along with books and movies.
Similarly, advertisements would be banned from including “information demonstrating non-traditional sexual relations or preferences.”
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The Duma gave the measure a second reading on Wednesday. Under the Russian legislative process, a third reading is needed to pass the bill to the Federation Council, the upper House. Once passed there, it can be signed by President Vladimir Putin.
According to the Duma, the author of the measure is State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin, who cited trends in the U.S. and Europe as a reason to pass it.
“He cited data from opinion polls, according to which 16% of Europeans aged 14 to 29 identify themselves as LGBT,” the Duma reported. “And in the U.S. state of Maryland, the number of students who have not decided on their gender due to the promotion of non-traditional relationships has grown almost six times in two years and today makes up 45% of all students in the state.”
The Duma did not cite where it received the polls, and it was not immediately clear if the polls are in fact accurate.
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