Most Russians have never faced “gay propaganda” but still support a ban on it, according to a poll published on Thursday.
Ninety-four percent of the populace said neither themselves nor their family members have ever come across any “gay propaganda” with the figure standing at 85 percent in the twin capitals, Moscow and St. Petersburg, and 96 percent in rural areas, state-run pollster VTsIOM said on its website.
Television was the main offender, accounting for 57 percent of all instances of such propaganda, according to the survey, which had a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points. Eight percent spoke of a ubiquitous “cult of homosexuality.”
However, 86 percent of 1,600 respondents nationwide said they supported a ban on the promotion of homosexual relationships, the poll said. Six percent opposed the ban and eight percent were undecided.
Several Russian regions introduced in recent years legislation imposing fines for the promotion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender lifestyles to minors.
The scandal broke anew when St. Petersburg's legislative assembly passed in March a law banning propaganda of LGBT relations and pedophilia to minors.
Foreign and Russian LGBT activists criticized the ban and called for boycotting travel to St. Petersburg, a popular tourist destination visited by five million people in 2010.
A similar bill was introduced in the federal parliament, and a Moscow City Hall source said on Thursday the capital is also considering a ban on “sodomy” promotion.
Also on Thursday, a district court in St. Petersburg threw out a defamation lawsuit by gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev, who sued the legislator behind the “gay propaganda” bill for calling Alexeyev “a girl” and saying the activist worked on foreign funding.
Alexeyev said he filed a new suit against the legislator, who called him “a woman” in a separate interview.