Ban on 'Gay Propaganda' Passes First Reading in Russian Parliament
A new bill that would ban "gay propaganda" from being directed towards minors passed its first reading in the Russian Lower House today.
The bill states that children need to be protected from "homosexual propaganda" and that "this propaganda goes through the mass media and public events that propagate homosexuality as normal behavior." This could potentially ban events campaigning for LGBT rights and mean hefty fines for organizers for creating "false perceptions of the social equality of traditional and nontraditional sexual relations."
Yelena Kostyuchenko, a Russian journalist and LGBT rights supporter, told reporters that "The law absolutely does not define what gay propaganda is and the reasons are understandable because gay propaganda does not exist. ...In that respect, any information on, as the law puts it, 'equal values of traditional and unorthodox marital relations' is considered 'gay propaganda'."
Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, however many LGBT individuals still face discrimination. About two-thirds of Russians consider homosexuality to be a "disease" or a "bad habit," according to Bloomberg. Gay pride events are banned in the capital city, and many cities currently have similar laws banning "gay propaganda" already in place.
The bill must pass two more readings in the Lower House, and then be approved by the Upper House and President Vladimir Putin before being enacted into law.
Media Resources: BBC 1/25/2013; Bloomberg 1/25/2013; Washington Post 1/25/2013
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell as out of order.
Republican legislators have redoubled their efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood since the release of two heavily edited clandestine videos of different PPFA employees taken without their knowledge. . . .
7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .