Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated Thursday that Russia’s anti-gay laws are not “discriminatory,” but went on to defend anti-gay discrimination. Though the law against “gay propaganda” effectively institutes a nationwide “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” against the gay community, Putin claims that it is “no infringement on the rights of sexual minorities,” echoing previous comments he’s made that his country is not homophobic.
He went on to suggest, however, that discriminating against gay people is important for maintaining population growth:
Putin says while some European nations have allowed gay marriages, “the Europeans are dying out … and gay marriages don’t produce children.”
He added that heterosexual couples should have more children to reverse a population decline, saying “let us make our own choice, as we see it for our country.”
Putin’s claims that the law is not discriminatory are patently false, but his other remarks reveal the disturbing mindset that informs such laws. He actually seems to believe that hiding the existence of homosexuality from children will somehow ensure that they don’t turn out gay and thus they will be more likely to have lots of heterosexual sex and babies. But the homophobia in Russia is actually more insidious than that, considering lawmakers there are also proposing a bill that would deny custody to individuals who actually do have their own children but then come out as gay. This suggests that Putin and other Russian lawmakers want people to both have children and not be gay — an attempt to implement ex-gay therapy through state propaganda.
Incidentally, it’s Russia that is struggling with a birth decline, which became particularly evident when Putin invited R&B group Boyz II Men to the country to try to rouse his citizens’ libidos.