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Russian 'Gay Propaganda' Bill Submitted To State Duma

Gay rights activists take part in a rally against homophobic laws in Moscow earlier this month.
A controversial bill that would impose fines for the alleged "spreading of homosexual propaganda" has been submitted to Russia's State Duma lower house of parliament.

The bill, submitted on March 29 by lawmakers from the West Siberian-Novosibirsk region, calls for fines of up to 500,000 rubles (around $16,500) for "spreading homosexual propaganda" to minors, and up to 1 million rubles (around $33,000) for "promoting pedophilia."

Critics say the measure, if approved into law, could be used to ban public demonstrations by Russia's embattled gay and transgender community.

Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, but anti-gay sentiment among many Russians remain strong.

Earlier this month, the governor of Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg, signed into law a similar measure governing that region.

Based on reporting by AP and ITAR-TASS