want to be jailed for fourteen days? travel to russia

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rainbow briteGot a tattoo? How about an earring? What about a brightly colored shirt? A v-neck t-shirt? A man purse? Anything with a rainbow or resembling a rainbow on it? If so, you have the potential to stay in a beautifully decorated Russian prison, where the food, I am sure, is four star and you get to choose from two menus: gray and brown.

Unfortunately for all of the amazing Russian people around the world, their leader and government are not so amazing. In July, Russia’s parliament unanimously passed a federal law banning gay “propaganda” under the guise of a Kremlin push to champion “conservative and religious” values.

Just to underscore how intolerant the Russian government has become, the law passed 436-0 and clearly states that it prohibits “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” among minors. One of the many many problems with this legislation is that it does not define exactly what that means, so, conceivably your child’s “Rainbow Brite” lunchbox, in your hands, could land you in prison for fourteen days.

Other than the vague “propaganda” piece, this new law makes it illegal to equate straight and gay relationships and illegal to distribute any material that even tangentially can be seen as promoting equality or gay rights. If found “guilty,” individuals and companies can be fined and jailed. As if this law wasn’t enough, the Russian Duma also passed a law stating that if an individual offends “religious feelings” they can be jailed for up to three years. Soon thereafter, another law that prohibits the adoption of Russian children by citizens of countries with any form of marriage equality was passed. As a result, no couple, gay or straight, in the U.S. can adopt a Russian child.

As proof that Russian authorities mean business, just this week four Dutch tourists were arrested for interviewing young people on their views on gay rights for a documentary they were filming on human rights in Russia. They will be detained for fourteen days and then deported.

So, by all means, if you want to spend fourteen days in prison, go to Russia. I’m sure you will enjoy your stay.

 

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