A gay pride parade in Munich, Germany on July 14, 2012.
Credit: Peter Scholz / Shutterstock.com
Russia's enactment of an anti-gay "propaganda" law months before the Winter Olympics 2014 has drawn international reproach. The law forbids positive or neutral portrayals of "non-traditional" relationships anywhere a minor might see them, effectively muzzling gay activists.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch warns that anti-gay violence appears to be on the rise in Russia, with vigilante groups luring gay men to private places by posing as potential dates and then attacking them. Hard numbers are difficult to track, because many victims fear further violence and retaliation if they report the attacks to police.
Nevertheless, the prevalence of anti-gay sentiment in Russia is unmistakable. A Pew Research Center survey conducted in spring 2013 found that 72 percent of Russians say homosexuality is morally unacceptable. Nine percent say being gay is moral, and 9 percent say it isn't a moral issue. [Why Russia Is So Anti-Gay]
Here's a list of hot-button issues seen as more acceptable than homosexuality in Russia:
1. Extramarital affairs: Sixty-nine percent of Russians say having an extramarital affair is morally unacceptable, compared with 72 percent who disapprove of homosexuality. Seven percent say an affair is acceptable, while 9 percent say it's not a moral issue.
2. Gambling: Gambling is morally acceptable to 10 percent of Russians, with 62 percent disapproving. Eighteen percent say gambling is not a moral issue.
3. Abortion: Abortion is considered acceptable by 25 percent of Russians, with 44 percent disapproving. Ten percent don't consider abortion to be a moral issue.
4. Drinking alcohol: Drinking splits the Russian public. Forty-four percent consider drinking alcohol morally unacceptable, while 26 percent say it's fine, and 13 percent say drinking isn't a moral issue.
5. Divorce: Only 22 percent of Russians disapprove of divorce, while 46 percent say it's fine and 13 percent don't consider it a moral issue.
6. Contraceptive: Contraceptive use is widely accepted in Russia, with only 7 percent of people disapproving of contraception on moral grounds. Sixty-two percent say contraceptives are moral, and 19 percent say using contraception is not a moral issue.