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Monday, June 21, 2004

Community - Planet Out / Russian parliament rejects anti-gay bill

Community - Planet Out

Russian parliament rejects anti-gay bill
Tue Jun 15, 8:25 PM ET Add Community - Planet Out to My Yahoo!

Ben Townley, Gay.com U.K.

SUMMARY: A bill that grouped gay men with pedophiles and alcoholics has been dropped in Russia, after opponents claimed it was unconstitutional.


A bill that grouped gay men with pedophiles and alcoholics has been dropped in Russia, after opponents claimed it was unconstitutional.

The bill was intended to ban anyone with any illnesses -- whether physical or mental -- from serving in the country's Duma, or parliament. It claimed that homosexuality should be included as a sickness.

"Chronic diseases and latent diseases undoubtedly influence one's capability to communicate and observe acceptable behavior norms," the bill said, according to the Moscow Times.

"They prevent [deputies] from making decisions for their electorate."

However, despite generating international publicity, the Duma refused to give the bill a first reading on Friday, with some members claiming it was unconstitutional and gave no presumption of innocence for Russian citizens.

This is not the first time the country's parliament has considered some controversial anti-gay laws.

A bill looking to punish gay men with five years imprisonment was overturned by the Duma in April. Homosexuality was decriminalized after the fall of the Soviet Union, but was illegal during the communist era.

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