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Gay Activists in Russia Are Beaten as US Celebrates DOMA-free Pride

rainbow flagThis is a great weekend to be gay in the good old U-S-of-A. Gay Americans and their allies are celebrating a DOMA-free Pride with Lady Gaga, but the news out of Russia is much more bleak. Two weeks ago, “Russia’s lower house of parliament passed a law against the ‘propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations’,” as PolicyMic’s Katie Halper reported. Halper writes, “The law imposes significant fines of up to $31,000 for providing information about the LGBT community to minors, holding gay pride events, speaking in defense of gay rights, or equating gay and heterosexual relationships.”

What the bill does not allow for, however, is private citizens taking it upon themselves to counter pride rallies by throwing rocks and eggs at activists, but that’s exactly what happened in the streets of St. Petersburg earlier today. Slate reports, “Dozens of people were arrested during a gay pride rally in St. Petersburg, Russia on Saturday as gay rights supporters clashed with anti-gay Russian nationalists. The rally itself was declared illegal under a new Russian statute forbidding “gay propaganda.” Anti-gay protesters chanted homophobic slogans and threw rocks and eggs at the approximately 40 gay rights activists who were rallying in a public space.” Visit Slate for disturbing photos of gay rights protesters with bloodied faces and standing strong against smoke bombs. PolicyMic has more on several recent homophobic attacks in Russia, including the murder of Vladislav Tornovoy, a 23-year-old who “was killed by his “friends” who tortured him, sodomized him with beer bottles, and smashed his head with a stone after he admitted he was gay.”

Meanwhile, back in the US, as LGBT victories increase year after year, there are still plenty of Republicans towing the anti-gay line. House speaker John Boehner said Wednesday, “A robust national debate over marriage will continue in the public square, and it is my hope that states will define marriage as the union between one man and one woman.”

Photo credit: iStock

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