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The Daily Agenda for Wednesday, November 30

Jim Burroway

November 30th, 2011

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Ban on LGBT Advocacy Scheduled For Vote: St. Petersburg, Russia. The St. Petersburg City Duma is expected to give the third and final reading today for a bill which would ban all LGBT advocacy with a fine of up to $1,600 for organizations engaging in “public actions aimed at propaganda of pederasty, lesbianism, bisexuality, and transgenderism among minors.” The fine for individuals would be about $100. The U.S. State Department has expressed “deep concerns” about the proposed legislation and called on Russian officials “ to safeguard these freedoms, and to foster an environment which promotes respect for the rights of all citizens.” The Russian Foreign Ministry has, in turn, denounced the State Department’s comments. “We view with bewilderment the American side’s attempts to interfere, what’s more, publicly, in the lawmaking process.”

Local LGBT advocates fear that the measure would provide another tool for police crackdowns, not only on Pride events, but also on the numerous conferences, meetings and film festivals which take place in the city each year. What’s more, the bill’s very vagueness leaves open the question of what constitutes “public actions.” Two women holding hands in public or one man with a rainbow lapel pin may run afoul of the new law. Similar laws have already been passed in Arkhangelsk and in the Ryazan region, and the St. Petersburg bill is expected to pass as well. After all, elections are only four days away.

If you know of something that belongs on the Agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

As always, please consider this your open thread for the day.

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