Gay emojis? GAY EMOJIS?! Not here in Russia, comrade

Bad Vlad mad over 'propaganda' pixels

Emojis from Apple's beta of iOS 6

The Russian government is reportedly looking to ban "gay" emoji symbols over fears the same-sex pictures could violate censorship laws.

Russia's Izvestia newspaper reports that Russian senator Mikhail Marchenko has issued a complaint that a collection of new emojis depict same-sex couples.

Marchenko argues the emojis are in violation of a 2013 Russian law banning what the government deems gay "propaganda" materials. The Beeb reports (via Izvestia) that the government's watchdog group plans to request that president Putin's Young Guard youth group investigate and report on the matter.

The Russian senator is quoted as expressing concern that the gay emojis "promoted non-traditional sexual relationships" and "disrespect for parents and other family members."

Gay-themed emojis are not a new phenomenon. Apple first introduced same-sex icons back in 2012. Hardly graphic, the emojis mostly feature same-sex couples standing next to each other and holding hands.

Earlier this year, Apple further diversified its iOS emoji lineup with the addition of multiple skin tones for emoji characters.

Since passing the 2013 "gay propaganda" laws, Russian lawmakers have aggressively pursued media they felt was too sexually suggestive. In 2013, authorities tore down a Steve Jobs memorial after learning Apple CEO Tim Cook was openly gay.

The Kremlin cracked down on a gay dating smartphone app and call for penalties against Apple iTunes and U2 for distributing an album with cover art depicting two shirtless men. ®

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