Council Of Europe Sec. General Condemns Russia’s Anti-Gay Propaganda Bill | The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, spoke out against St. Petersburg’s proposed anti-gay propaganda law, telling the radio station “Ekho Moskvy” (translated as the Echo of Moscow), that there is nothing wrong about discussing homosexuality. “The mention of homosexuality — is normal,” he said. “Freedom of speech is one of the basic rights of a democratic society.” Jagland added that if Russia approves the homophobic ban, it will move in the opposite direction of Europe, which has adopted nondiscrimination laws against gay and lesbian people in the last 10 to 12 years. Jagland did not rule out further sanctions against Russia and reiterated that the country should bide by Articles of the European Convention of human rights, including the 11th article, which guarantees freedom of assembly and of association. LGBT activists have been pressuring St. Petersburg lawmakers to abandon the measure — which is scheduled to receive a second reading later this month — and have asked the United Nations Human Rights Committee and the European Court of Human Rights to condemn the bill.