Gay rights 'kiss-in'-style protest sparks clashes in Russia


Russian gay rights activists kiss each other in front of Russian State Duma building on January 22, 2013 during their protest action in Moscow.


Andrey Smirnov

Clashes broke out in front of the Russian parliament today, pitting ultra-Orthodox supporters of proposed legislation prohibiting "gay propaganda" against LGBT rights campaigners opposing the law, according to the Associated Press.

Reports of altercations come as the Duma's lower house today postponed debate on the controversial legislation, reported Russia Today, marking its second setback in as many months.

The bill was to be debated by lawmakers today, but its reading was postponed to later this week, said RIA Novosti.

The law would ban minors from being exposed to information on the LGBT community and includes penalties of up to $16,000, said Russia Today. It remains unclear, however, what exactly would constitute exposure to these alternative lifestyles. 

A dozen gay rights activists gathered outside parliament today and kissed each other in public to protest the proposed law, said AP, presumably taking a page from similar kiss-ins held in America by gay rights activists at various Chick-fil-A fast food restaurants. 

They called the demonstration: “For traditional values: love, family and respect for human dignity," according to RIA Novosti

Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993.