18:11 GMT +316 February 2019
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    Amnesty urges Russia to halt ‘homophobic’ bill

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    Amnesty International criticized on Friday a bill that it said would “fuel discrimination against the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community” in Russia’s second city of St. Petersburg.

    Amnesty International criticized on Friday a bill that it said would “fuel discrimination against the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community” in Russia’s second city of St. Petersburg.

    The bill calls for a fine of up to $1,600 for "public actions aimed at propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality, and transgenderism among minors."

    It was passed unanimously earlier this week by St. Petersburg's city legislature in the first of three required readings.

    “This bill is a thinly veiled attempt to legalize discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people,” said Nicola Duckworth, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Programme Director.

    “The notion that LGBTI rights activists are somehow converting Russia’s youth through ‘propaganda’ would be laughable, if the potential effects of this new law weren’t so dangerous and wide-reaching.”

    Consensual same-sex activity was only decriminalized in Russia in 1993 and attitudes to gays and lesbians remain hostile. Former Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov once dubbed gay pride “Satanic.”