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Politicians in Russia are debating whether to ban public displays of affection between gay people as part of Vladimir Putin’s ongoing campaign against the gay community.

Under the legislation, gay couples will be banned from displaying affection in public and could face fines of up to 5,000 rubles, or even jail for kissing or holding hands. “Gay propaganda”, including public speech or demonstrations for same-sex equality was made illegal in 2013.

Although being gay isn’t illegal in Russia, President Vladimir Putin claims that “non-traditional sexual relations” are a corrupting influence on Russia’s morality and society, hence the push to ban the “public expression of nontraditional sexual relations, resulting in the public demonstration of one’s own distorted sexual preferences in public places.”

Tanya Cooper, a Russia researcher for Human Rights Watch, wrote that the ban on public expression of non-traditional sexuality could “further escalate the rabid homophobia and transphobia in Russia, putting LGBT Russians at further risk of violence and discrimination.”

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