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The police of the Republic of Armenia has proposed a new amendment in the section of administrative offenses of the “Administrative Offences Code of the Republic of Armenia”, according to their wording.

THE LAW

OF THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA

ON MAKING AMENDMENTS IN THE CODE OF ADMINISTRATIVE ՕFFENCES OF THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA

Article 1. To fill after the article 47.7 of the Code of administrative offenses of December 6 1985 with a new article: 47.8, with the following content:

Article 47.8: Propaganda about non-traditional sexual relationships

  1. The propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships

results a fine with the amount of fifty minimal wages to one hundred minimal wages toward citizens, from one hundred to one hundred fifty minimal wages toward legal entities, and from two hundred to two hundred fifty minimal wages for the officials of legal entities.

  1. The action described in the first part of the law, which is undertaken with the use of mass media outlets,

results a fine with the amount of one hundred minimal wages to one hundred fifty minimal wages toward citizens, from one hundred fifty to two hundred minimal wages toward legal entities, and from two hundred fifty to three hundred fifty minimal wages for the officials of legal entities.

The minimal wage in the republic of Armenia is 45.000 AMD, nearly 110 USD. This means that the fines go from 225000 AMD ( 2000 USD) to 15.750.000 AMD (3850 USD), if my calculations are correct.

The “justification” which follows in the official letter is, as expected, the “traditional values” and “traditional marriage” thing.

Feast your eyes, gents and gals:

1. Current situation and the necessity of ratifying the legal act.

             According to the 35th article of the Republic of Armenia, family is the natural and basic cell of the society. The government in its turn takes measures in fostering the formation of strong families, in securing sufficient standards of living, including flats, as well as in bettering the standards of living of its citizens. The problem of maintaining the model of traditional family is more than actual for the young Republic of Armenia, as it is exactly the family based on traditional moral values that is the basis for sustaining our nation. By integrating to European values, we, willingly or unwillingly, have become not only the holders of universal human values, but also accepted phenomena that are foreign to the mentality of Armenian nation. One of those are the non-traditional sexual relationships which are often promoted by the society without understanding the deviant and destructive effect of that phenomenon on the formation of Armenian family, on the formation of psychology of future generations, bringing up etc. This phenomenon gets even more dangerous in all the cases when it is not only being promoted, but also propagated. The use of various methods of propagation helps in perceiving the phenomenon as an advertisement and it is starting to be perceived the same way as any other legal and natural phenomenon. Meanwhile, the publication and propagation of negative phenomena in such a way cannot be promoted by a state which has been surviving throughout centuries thanks to the maintenance of traditional values and stable family. For the sake of opposing to this vicious phenomenon that stands in front of our state and preventing the further spread of it, the project of “Amendments in the Administrative Offenses Code of the Republic of Armenia” has been made, which intends administrative responsibility for the propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships. As a matter of fact, the law foresees a harsher responsibility for promoting non-traditional sexual relationships through mass media.

Notice the wording on “natural” thing? Notice the family-centered traditional attitude of the police? Now, here’s a puzzle. Who said this?

“The National Government… regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life.”

The ruling Republican party of Armenia? Chief of the police or those same police officers that presented that draft? Surprise, surprise, Hitler!! (Adolf Hitler. (1941). My New Order. New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, p. 144.)

This is dangerous, because the state tries to regulate the personal freedoms of its citizens! The state tries to tell the citizen what to do, what to think, how to behave even in personal, sexual matters.

This is also a great tool for oppression of political, religious and opponents of any kind. Years ago, when homosexuality was a crime, police officers and other power structures would blackmail gay men. This new ‘law’ will be a great restoration of that tradition.

A few questions I’m asking myself:

What does police have to do with legislative power and legislation?

This is the first time I’ve ever heard a police dept proposing a law.

Why family should oppose to sexuality or any kind of sexual activity?

We know couples cease to have sex with one another after years of monotonous relationships, but still… does that mean “sex vs family” is a right thing? Especially from the perspective of law???! What a twisted view!

What is traditional sex and what is not?

What if a man and a woman (suppose they’re married to one another) decide to have anal sex.  Is that orthodox, traditional enough? Or still bad?

How about Constitution and freedoms?

Freedom of expression? Freedom of gathering and distributing info on my own? (Article 27 of Constitution) What if me and a few friends of mine decide to talk about “non-traditional sexual relationships?” They still can fine us for that.

What about international obligations?

The Constitution of Armenia states that if the international law is in conflict with the local one, the international norms should be dominant. Universal Declaration of Human Rights? European Convention on Human Rights?

Has the police ever tried to oppose the ‘propaganda’ of alcohol?

Drunkards and drug abusers destroy their families. They spend all the money, abuse their wives and children. Has the police ever tried to stop that kind of really harmful stuff from being propagated to strengthen and save families?

I have produced a song on marriage equality. Does that mean I’m ‘propagating non-traditional sexual relationships?

The song is called “Equal Marriage Hymn“. I wonder if I get fined for that.

If we have articles in Criminal Code and Administrative Offences Code on spreading pornography and prostitution, what is this new law about?

One justification the police is allegedly presenting is the ‘fight’ against prostitution, especially transvestite sex workers. Now, if that’s true, this is just an orthodox homophobic, traditional holy crap!

Is this all a way to get the favor of population?

The police is REALLY corrupt in Armenia. They always protect the regime and oppress freedom. Be it illegal boutiques at the cost of green environment, be it forged election results, be it husbands beating their wives, the police is always taking the side of the oppressor. And as recently as yesterday, a police officer is told to be involved in a child abuse case (rape of a 13 year old girl). I wonder…

Is this done to detract the attention of activists and population?

We have lots of social, economical, financial, cultural and political problems. The fares for mini-buses were raised by 50% recently. People now pay for gas (coming from Russia) much more. Education got more expensive, too. Corruption and monopoly are all around. I can’t help but wonder if this is done to detract people’s attention from the reality, create an illusion of a ‘threat’, and forge a serial “moral victory for the nation?”

Last, but not least, the two final, ultimate questions:

Are we going to turn into a Russia, Iran or Uganda? What can we do?

Protests is one possible answer. The  Armenian diaspora could pressure the govt, too. Disobedience, grassroots groups, as well as umbrella unions unifying various fronts, these are some answers.

Speaking of Russia, Russia plays the “moral traditional values” game. It likes to present itself as the last “bastion of morality”, and pro-Russian and Russian mass media like to spread lies and disinformation about the “immoral western values”. Now both sides want Armenia, but Russian side plays with sinister cards, having no ethical rules, touching upon instincts and fears of people. We shall ensure the victory of rationalism and humanism in this war.

The “protection” of any social group can’t be accomplished at the cost of other groups’ rights or repressions. The “protection of morality or tradition” can never be accomplished by violating human rights in any way.

UPDATE: The head of the police withdrew the draft “because of the complications that were found during the discussion of t-he project” and because “it is not a priority for the police”. But it may well be back…

The chief (of the police) has also clarified that this “project of the law was forged by the legal bureau of the police of the Republic of Armenia, based on complaints of a few dozens of intellectuals.”