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15:47 GMT +3 hours22 December 2014
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Russia

'Gay Propaganda' Ban Comes into Force in St Petersburg

Russia
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St. Petersburg’s Governor Georgy Poltavchenko on Sunday signed off a law penalizing "the propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia among minors."

St. Petersburg’s Governor Georgy Poltavchenko on Sunday signed off a law penalizing "the propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia among minors."

The law will take effect 10 days after its official publication, the governor’s press service said.

The law, passed in the third and final reading by the city’s Legislative Assembly in late February, imposes fines of up to $16,000 on individuals and up to $160,000 on legal entities for the promotion of homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender practices among minors.

It follows similar bans in the southern Astrakhan and central Ryazan and Kostroma regions in Russia.

The new legislation effectively outlaws any Gay Pride events.

The St. Petersburg LGBT group Coming Out said the bill was “homophobic” and aimed at diverting public attention from Russia’s “real political and social problems.”

Homosexuality was illegal in the Soviet Union and was only decriminalized by the late President Boris Yeltsin in 1993, but anti-gay sentiment is still widespread.