Last edited: December 08, 2004

Bill Aims to Ban Gay Deputies

Moscow Times, June 10, 2004
Ulitsa Vyborgskaya 16, Bldg. 4, 125212 Moscow, Russia
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By Francesca Mereu, Staff Writer

The State Duma is to consider Friday a bill that would ban alcoholics, homosexuals and pedophiles from holding seats in parliament.

The bill, which was submitted by the Kursk region’s legislative assembly, would require newly elected deputies to undergo physical and psychological examinations to make sure they are fit for office.

Health Ministry doctors would be responsible for declaring each deputy free of alcoholism, homosexuality and pedophilia, as well as several diseases, which are not specified in the bill.

“Chronic diseases and latent diseases undoubtedly influence one’s capability to communicate and observe acceptable behavior norms,” the bill says. “They prevent [deputies] from making decisions for their electorate.”

“Only people who are psychologically fit should aspire for a Duma post,” a Kursk legislative assembly spokesman said Thursday. He refused to give his name.

The bill is an amendment to a law on Duma elections and is on the parliament’s agenda to come up for the first of three required readings Friday. Alexander Volkov, a deputy from the pro-Kremlin United Russia faction who was elected in Kursk, is to present the bill to the Duma.

“The bill is aimed at forming some regulations,” said Volkov’s spokesman, Yury Svichainy.

However, he acknowledged that it was highly unlikely that the bill would make it all the way to the reading Friday.

A number of deputies have slammed the bill as unconstitutional, saying it fails to uphold the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The Duma’s Committee on Constitutional Law and Government Building has recommended that the Duma throw out the bill.

The bill was submitted to the Duma last year, Svichainy said.

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