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St.Petersburg gay bill violates minorities' rights - U.S.

Thu 24 November 2011 05:25 GMT | 10:25 Local Time
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"We have called on Russian officials to safeguard these freedoms, and to foster an environment which promotes respect for the rights of all citizens".

The United States is concerned about a bill by St. Petersburg's city legislature imposing fines for the promotion of homosexuality, a Department of State spokeswoman said.

The bill, passed nearly unanimously in the first of the three readings needed to write it into law last Wednesday, effectively outlaws any gay pride events. However, it was shelved on Wednesday after lawmakers failed to agree on its "legal definitions" and the amount of the fines that would have to be paid.

"We are deeply concerned by proposed local legislation in Russia that would severely restrict freedoms of expression and assembly for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, and indeed all Russians," Department of State Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

She added that "gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights."

"We have called on Russian officials to safeguard these freedoms, and to foster an environment which promotes respect for the rights of all citizens," she went on.

The bill imposes fines of up to 50,000 rubles ($1,600) for "public activities promoting sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgender identity" as well as pedophilia among minors.

While the authorities argue the measures are necessary to safeguard children from the "rising popularity of sexual deviations," rights groups have warned of the slide towards legitimizing fascism.

RIA Novosti

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