14 February 2011
Source: Coming Out
"We'd like to update you on the situation with the "propaganda of homosexuality" bill in St. Petersburg, which passed in the 2nd hearing on February 8.
A third reading has not yet been scheduled. It is NOT on the agenda for tomorrow.
To the best of our knowledge, the author of the bill is going to initiate deputy "public" hearings before the 3rd reading. According to the comments he gave to the press (http://www.mr7.ru/news/society/story_49913.html ), we can conclude that these hearings will NOT include experts from LGBT rights organizations or experts that were commissioned by LGBT organizations to evaluate the bill. Only experts that were commissioned by the legislative assembly, who gave a positive review of the bill, will be invited.
We believe the main goal for these hearings is to form negative public opinion of LGBT people and to legitimize the bill that caused so much public outrage. It is also a way for Milonov to present himself in a more positive, democratic light. We beileve that any public hearing that does not give a voice to both sides cannot be considered legitimate and is a gross manipulation of democratic mechanisms."