The European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has expressed concern over Russian lawmakers' initial approval of legislation that would impose penalties for spreading alleged "homosexual propaganda" to minors.
Ashton said in a statement
on January 30 that the "implementation of this law could reinforce discrimination" against sexual minorities and limit their freedom of expression, association, and assembly.
The State Duma passed the bill in a first reading last week with a vote off 388-1 with one abstention.
The bill would outlaw gay parades and proposes fines of up to 5,000 rubles ($165) for violations by individuals.
Companies could face fines of up to 500,000 rubles ($165,000) if found guilty.