A passerby beats a gay rights activist during their unauthorised rally in central Moscow on May 27, 2012.

Moscow - Russian lawmakers on Tuesday passed a law introducing stiff fines and jail terms for people who promote homosexual “propaganda” to minors, a measure critics fear will be used to justify the repression of gays amid rising homophobia.

The State Duma or lower house of parliament approved the controversial measure by 436 votes to zero with one abstention, clearing the way for its expected passage by the upper house of and signature by President Vladimir Putin. - Sapa-AFP