"By combining homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexuality into one law with sexual crimes against minors, members of the Legislative Assembly indulge in gross manipulations of public opinion. Their goal – to pass an anti-democratic law, directed at severely limiting human rights in St. Petersburg," Polina Savchenko, leader of Coming Out, a LGBT group, told Asylum News.
She added: "Organizers of public events cannot restrict access of minors to any open area; people under 18 can be there just by chance. Consequently, it makes any public campaigns aimed at reducing xenophobia and hate crime prevention impossible."
After having passed a first positive vote during the first reading, Vilatly Milonov, a member of the United Russia party who proposed the bill, told media: "We have decided to double-check all legal definitions related to this bill."
Many demonstrations in St Petersburg have took place and a petition launched by AllOut.org has currently more than 179,000 signatures. Its co-founder Andre Banks said: "Because Russia is a powerful nation, the international community has stayed silent—not one major world leader has yet to speak out against this bill.
"That hasn’t stopped tens of thousands around the world from raising their voices and standing with the beleaguered LGBT community in Russia, who are being used as a political punching bag in the run up to elections.
"It’s time for the same world leaders who spoke up against the "Anti-Homosexuality" bill in Uganda to speak out against this draconian law in Russia."
Add your signature to the petition: Russia: a bill to silence millions