Russian lawmakers gave preliminary approval to a bill that imposes tough new restrictions on activities to promote LGBTQ rights in the country.
The new bill, which the lower house of Russia's parliament unanimously approved on the first of three readings, ramps up the restrictions and expands the presentation ban to cover all age groups, not just the under-18 population.
It outlaws advertising, media and online resources, books, films and theater productions deemed to contain such propaganda.
With regards to minors, the new bill broadens the existing restrictions by banning information about gender transitions.
Violations are punishable by fines, and, if committed by non-residents, could lead to their expulsion from Russia.
A 2013 Russian law banned what authorities deem to be the "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" to children. It has been used to stifle debate in any public context and to prevent demonstrations or any public gatherings with pro-LGBTQ content that a child could conceivably see or hear.
This new bill will not only brazenly deprives LGBTQ people of their right to freedom of expression and endorses their discrimination, but will likely also lead to an increase in violent attacks and other hate crimes against them.