Apparently taking a cue from Armenia's closest ally, Russia, the Armenian police seem to be thinking that it is time to do something to defend traditional Armenian family values from the onslaught of what they see as growing "gay propaganda."
A draft bill, now scrapped, would have required anyone caught promoting "non-traditional sexual relationships," as RFE/RL reported, to pay a fine equivalent in drams to $4,000. The bill took its line of argument -- and, it appears, its inspiration -- from a recent Russian bill that established a similar ban last month.
Armenia’s LGBT community remains largely closeted and often becomes a target of violence and abuse.But often in the region, as in Russia, interest in sexual matters increases when a government (or religious institution) is confronted by controversy and criticism. Yerevan, in recent weeks, met with a wide-scale boycott of public transportation over increased fares and a protest for Mayor Taron Margarian's resignation.
In a published statement, police, however, confined their perceived "problem" to “preserving the traditional Armenian family, as traditional values represent the pillar of national survival,” the Russian-language Armenia Today news site reported.
Armenia is moving toward embracing a European way of life, the statement says, but with it come certain “extraneous phenomena," homosexuality chief among them, the police continued.
Armenia Today pointed out that views may diverge on what constitutes traditional Armenian sexual relations and suggested that the police should indicate what sex positions are warranted by the country's interior ministry.
But before gay bars in the West could start boycotting Armenian brandy, along with Russian vodka, in response, the police suddenly pulled back the draft bill. They say that they need time to pore over some details. Or maybe they just decided to work on that pictogram.