Moscow: Gay rights activists in Russia have asked a court to strike down a controversial bill passed by the legislature in St. Petersburg that prohibits "propaganda" of homosexuality.

An LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) group called Vykhod said the bill allows for abuse because its basic concepts, including "propaganda", "bisexualism" and "traditional and non-traditional marital relations", have no legal definitions. Any mention of homosexuality can now be considered an administrative offence under the bill, the group said.

Moreover, the preference given to "traditional marital relations" violates the principle of equality before the law, Vykhod said. The bill, setting up fines for "gay propaganda", came into force on Monday. It is facing criticism from the LGBT community and rights activists both inside and outside Russia.