NEW YORK, July 26 (C-FAM) Eastern European countries are following Russia’s lead to protect children by curbing advocacy for “non-traditional” sexual acts. Homosexual groups are reacting furiously.
Last month Moldova passed a law prohibiting the distribution of information “aimed at the propagation of prostitution, pedophilia, pornography or of any other relations than those related to marriage or family.” Lithuania recently adopted a similar law, and Ukraine’s legislature is reportedly considering the same.
The laws are designed to protect minors from graphic information that may lead them to unhealthy choices at a delicate age. Russia’s law, adopted in June, fines individuals and organizations for promoting “non-traditional” sexual behavior among children.
Homosexual advocacy groups like Human Rights Watch say these laws violate international and European human rights standards. Proponents say the laws are narrowly tailored and only limit freedom of speech in so far as necessary to protect children.
Homosexuality is not criminalized in Russia or Eastern European countries, as it was under communism. But citizens are worried about glamorizing unhealthy lifestyles without considering the effect that may have on minors.
The homosexual lifestyle, in particular, is associated with a host of health risks. Individuals who engage in homosexual activity are 18 times more likely to contract HIV/AIDS than persons who don’t. They are at higher risk for other sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse, depression, and suicide.
The laws have been on the books in some Russian states for nearly a decade. National legislatures began enacting them this year, after President Obama ordered all U.S. agencies dealing with foreign affairs to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, and established a fund for foreign LGBT groups to agitate within their countries. At that same time, British Prime Minister David Cameron threatened to cut aid to countries that have laws penalizing sodomy.
The Associated Press and other media call the new laws “anti-gay.” Last week a New York Times opinion piece compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler. Homosexual activists are urging individuals to boycott the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Activists hoping to tap into anti-religious sentiment in the West have blamed the Russian Orthodox Church for promoting the laws. But the growing influence of the Orthodox Church, however significant, is not enough to explain the swift passage of these laws where they enjoy popular support. In Russia, a recent Pew poll found only 16% believe homosexuality should be socially acceptable.
Russia enacted its national law despite UN human rights experts condemning a similar regional law earlier this year. In June the Council of Europe expressed its concern with Russia’s new law, especially its effect on Gay Pride events. These events are notorious for displays of simulated sexual acts.
Attempts to apply international pressure have not deterred nearby countries from considering and adopting similar laws to Russia’s.
A few intrepid homosexual activists are facing the consequences of travelling to Russia to flaunt the law.