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Russia to ban ‘homosexual propaganda,’ Alaska to fight discrimination

BY ROB SALERNO – Russia’s parliament is considering passing a nationwide version of the infamous Don’t Say Gay bills that have been passed in St Petersburg and Arkhangelsk.

The bills, which make spreading “homosexual propaganda” in public to minors illegal and subject to fines ranging from $170 to $17,000, were the subject of intense international criticism when they were passed by St Petersburg city council and the Arkhangelsk state parliament last year. Even Madonna has pledged to make a statement about the laws at her upcoming St Petersburg show.

Although homosexuality has been decriminalized in Russia since 1993, it is not popularly approved of, and gays regularly face discrimination nationwide.

Meanwhile, in Anchorage, Alaska — from which, apparently, you can actually see Russia — activists are trying to pass a ballot initiative that would make discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in housing and employment illegal

The issue goes before voters tomorrow, and polls indicate that it’s likely to pass. However, those same polls show voters reelecting the mayor who vetoed the city-council-passed anti-discrimination ordinance in the first place. He wouln’t have the power to overturn a successful referendum, though.

You may be shocked to learn that in 29 US states, it remains perfectly okay to fire people from their jobs or deny them housing just because they’re gay or lesbian, 34 if they’re trans. Alaska is currently one of 12 states with no laws at the state or municipal level prohibiting anti-gay discrimination. 

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