The U.S. State Department is “deeply concerned” about Russia’s proposed legislation, which would make it a crime to publicly “promote” LGBT issues, and which equates those issues with pedophilia.

“Gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights,” the State Department said, repeating a declaration by top US diplomat Hillary Clinton.

“We have called on Russian officials to safeguard these freedoms, and to foster an environment which promotes respect for the rights of all citizens.”

As Andy Towle points out,

The St. Petersburg legislation certainly doesn’t respect “the rights of all citizens.” In fact, it leaves citizens guessing as to what their rights are, vis a vis the law. The legislation bans the promotion of LGBT lifestyles to minors, especially in public, but fails to explain what might constitute “promotion.” Anything — from pride parades to protests to  two women holding hands and appearing to enjoy it — could, in theory, be illegal, so long as it’s public and vaguely gay.

In the meantime, Russians are protesting that the law would violate the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, not to mention the country’s own anti-discrimination law, and the proposed legislation’s second reading (three are required to make it law) has been postponed.

For an interesting perspective, read the New Yorker’s piece on how this proposed law fits into–and clashes with–Russian culture. See also Russian gay activist Nikolai Alexeyev’s impassioned piece in the Guardian.