If anything, that is a generous description of the environment Russia’s gays and lesbians face. The “homosexual propaganda” bill, passed in June, is dangerously open-ended, potentially treating any communication that doesn’t portray homosexuality in a negative light as a punishable offense.
Passed just six months before Russia is slated to host the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, the law also allows foreigners to be arrested and detained for up to two weeks should they choose to “propagandize” homosexuality while visiting. As if the message wasn’t clear enough, Mr. Putin signed another anti-gay measure at the beginning of July — this one preventing the adoption of Russian-born children by any person living in a country in which same-sex marriage is legal, regardless of that person’s sexuality. In the contest for the most medieval level of intolerance, the Russian Federation is giving Saudi Arabia a run for its money.