- The Washington Times - Friday, January 25, 2013

Police have arrested several in a Moscow rally aimed at pressuring lawmakers to vote against a bill that bans perceived promotion of homosexuality among minors.

In a BBC report, human rights campaigner Lyudmila Alexeyeva explained that bill as a “curb [on] the rights of sexual minorities,” rather than a protection for children. If passed, the bill would prohibit any gatherings and events in Russia that promote gay rights; a similar law already exists in the city of St. Petersburg.

According to Bloomberg, those found guilty of violating the law, and creating “false perceptions of the social equality of traditional and not traditional sexual relations,” could be fined up to $16,600.

Russia is running counter to Western pushes for gay rights laws. Britain and France have been embroiled in cultural battles of late to pass gay marriage rules, while President Obama has come out in support of what he describes as equal rights for all sexual orientations.

The bill banning gay rights rallies is up for the first of three readings in the Duma on Friday.

The military in Russia also recently announced a new policy to determine whether new recruits are gay or not. The Moscow Times says new recruits may undergo inspections of their genitals and private parts for tattoos that show they might be gay.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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