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Historic Russian court ruling: gay pride is legal

Kostroma regional court made a landmark ruling saying that gay pride events were previously illegally banned by the authorities
Based on an appeal by LGBT rights advocate Nikolai Alekseev, Kostroma regional made a historic ruling saying that gay pride events were previously illegally banned by the authorities

Press Secretary of the Kostroma Oblast Court Julia Medvedeva announced the court ruled illegal a ban on gay pride marches in the region and on two rallies against the local law prohibiting propaganda of homosexuality among minors.

‘The Civil Chamber of Kostroma Regional Court granted the appeal of Moscow Pride and events founder Nikolai Alekseev against the decision of Sverdlovsk District Court’, said Medvedeva today (20 March).

According to the court's statement it found that the rallies and marches did not constitute as ‘propaganda of homosexuality’, rather a method of conveying information to the public.

‘The court's decision took effect, so gay activists can already apply for these activities’, added the spokesperson.

LGBT activists planned several events, including marches, pickets and rallies in the period from 22 to 26 March 2012.

The events were prevented from taking place by the region’s ban on ‘gay propaganda’. 

A bill banning the ‘propaganda of homosexuality’ was voted into law in the Kostroma region in February 2012.

Speaking with Gay Star News, Alekseev commented on the historic ruling: ’It has a direct impact on the application of the law as all bans were based on it; the court ruled that the banning of pride events and pickets and marches in front of the Kostroma parliament was illegal.

‘This is important, we are getting more and more decisions in our favor internationally, and this is the second case in Russia, the first being a ruling against banning of Pride in city of Khimki, nearby Moscow.

‘Gradually international and local pressure is bearing fruit. I cited in court cases we have won in the UN Human Rights Committee and the European Court of Human Rights.

‘This is a good sign and a good example for other courts that you cannot ban public events such as gay pride’.

However, Medvedeva also noted that the regional court upheld the previous lower court decision that two pickets in support of LGBT rights in front of the Kostroma Regional Children's Library and the Regional Youth Library did constitute ‘propaganda of homosexuality’ which can have 'harmful effects on children'.

Alekseev says he plans to appeal against this decision and continue to fight against all the bans throughout Russia, both through local and international courts.

‘It will take time, but we’ll get there’ he added optimistically.

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