In what may be nothing more than an attempt to save face in the run-up to the Winter Olympics in Sochi and blunt widespread international criticism of Russia's anti-LGBT crackdown, members of the Russian parliament introduced a bill Friday that would widen the country's ban on so-called "gay propaganda" to include sexual "propaganda" of any kind.
From the Moscow Times:
A bill submitted to the State Duma proposes amending Russia's anti-gay propaganda law so that it would ban propagating sexual relations of any kind to children.
The proposed changes, submitted Friday evening, would change the wording of the original law passed in June on "propagandizing non-traditional sexual relations" to a prohibition on "propagandizing a priority of sexual relations," Itar-Tass reported Sunday.
The rest of the law, including punishments that include up to 1 million ruble ($29,000) fines and 90 day suspensions for organizations which publicly promote homosexuality, would be left unchanged. Similar changes would be made to other laws on the protection of children.
Russia's "gay propaganda" ban outlaws any kind of public expression of LGBT identity, LGBT pride, or support for the LGBT community. So if they broadened the ban to include "propaganda" of all sexual relations, would that lead to a crackdown on public displays of affection between opposite-sex couples and ads that use sex appeal to sell products?
Something tells me that whatever happens to the letter of this odious law, the spirit of it -- and its enforcement -- will remain directed solely against Russia's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.