Russia is continuing to push its homophobic ideals, this time by attempting to ban same-sex emoji, The Guardian reports.
Government leaders want to eradicate those tiny adorable cartoon depictions of love and friendship, including men holding hands with men, and women kissing each other.
Officials claim the emoji are in direct conflict with Russia’s 2013 “gay propaganda” law, which makes it illegal to distribute material on gay rights, as well as consider gay and straight relationships to be equal. Anti-gay violence increased in Russia after the government passed the propaganda law.
Senator Mikhail Marchenko of Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party kicked off the investigation after he complained about the graphics used across literally every communication platform, the newspaper reported. If the investigation finds such emoji do conflict with the contentious 2013 law, the emoji could be banned from social media.
Russia’s anti-LGBT views have become extreme in recent years, and according to data published in July, 80 percent of Russians oppose same-sex marriage, and a full 41 percent would support “exterminating the phenomenon” by persecuting gay Russians.
The country unveiled a “straight flag” last month to advocate for the “traditional family” and combat “gay fever.”
Russia will have a hard time enacting a ban on same-sex emoji, considering the widespread use of emoji across multiple global platforms. The gay and lesbian couple emoji first debuted in 2012 with the launch of iOS 6, and earlier this year, iOS 8.3 gave us family emoji with same-sex parents.
H/T The Guardian | Illustration by Max Fleishman