Russia’s top court backs gay events ban

Russian state media hailed the country’s Supreme Court ruling as a blow to discrimination of LGBT people, yet its decision actually strengthens gay events ban

Russia’s top court backs gay events ban
14 September 2012

The Supreme Court of Russia has ruled that some LGBT events are not classified as ‘homosexual propaganda’.

The Supreme Court’s ruling, passed this Thursday (13 September), concerned the recent legal ban on ‘gay propaganda’ to minors issued by legislature in North Russia’s Arkhangelsk Region.

Nikolai Alexeyev, an LGBT rights advocate contested the ruling in both the lower courts and the European Court of Human Rights.

The Supreme Court decision however stated that Arkhangelsk Region’s law against ‘homosexual propaganda’ and its application (i.e. ban of LGBT events) was justified, lawful and did not contradict Russian federal laws.

It merely states that ‘some LGBT events are not homosexual propaganda.’

However the state controlled TV station, Russia Today, announced that the Supreme Court ‘will not classify gay pride parades and other public declarations of sexual preference as gay propaganda, and such acts will therefore not be restricted by recent legal limitations.’

Speaking with Gay Star News, Alexeyev criticised RT and the Supreme Court’s decision: ‘In fact the Supreme Court’s decision is terrible.

‘It ruled that Arkhangelsk “homosexual propaganda” law and its application is legal and does not contradict Russia federal laws.

‘It made matters in fact worse by stating that Russia has a traditional family structure as a norm which must be “protected”.

‘It only stated that some LGBT events are not “homosexual propaganda”, which has no legal binding on the application of the “anti-homosexual propaganda” law in Arkhangelsk or any other Russian area.

‘Furthermore, unlike in the UK or US a ruling by the Supreme Court does not set a precedent for other cases so the Russian authorities can continue not only to ban LGBT events, like Moscow Pride, with ‘homosexual propaganda’ laws and now they can even use a new clause about the “traditional family”.

‘Russia Today’s announcement is thus completely misleading and itself nothing more than propaganda designed to make the Russian authorities look as if they are fair and do not discriminate.

‘They certainly are not fair and do discriminate, two prides in Moscow and two in St. Petersburg, among countless other LGBT events have been banned continually. ’

This Wednesday (12 September) the security chief of the Moscow local government said that the authorities will not allow gay pride in Moscow: ‘We protect the interests of citizens who are vehemently opposed to these people who promote non-traditional relationships in front of children.’

In the last few years Russian politicians and authorities initiated major legal campaigns against so-called ‘homosexual propaganda’.

Laws against the ‘promotion of homosexuality’ were approved and enacted eight regions, including St. Petersburg and Arkhangelsk.

On 21 October 2010 Nikolai Alexeyev won the first ever case at the European Court of Human Rights on LGBT human rights violations in Russia.

The Strasbourg-based court unanimously ruled that by banning three Moscow Prides in 2006, 2007 and 2008 Russia breached three articles of the European Convention. In January 2011 Russian Government asked the Court to refer the case for re-consideration to the Grand Chamber. On 11 April 2011 five judges panel of the European Court dismissed Russia’s appeal and the verdict on illegality of Moscow Pride bans came into force the same day.

On the 24-26 September a committee of EU ministers will pass resolution on the continuing violation by Russia’s government of the European Court of Human Rights ruling.

Speaking with GSN, Yury Gavirkov, a St. Petersburg based LGBT activist agreed with Alexeyev’s opinion and said: ‘This decision is nothing more than window dressing, appearing to try on the surface to satisfy the European Court of Human Rights and Arkhangelsk’s government.

‘Furthermore, Russian authorities can ban (and have done so) LGBT events legally on technical issues, for example saying a road needs to be fixed or the event “clashes” with another.

‘This ruling is meaningless in terms of anti-discrimination; it sets absolutely no precedent and is far from being a landmark decision as Russia Today tries to make it sound.’

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Maldives opposition party youth sport initiative attacked as cover for ‘sodomy’

The party of deposed Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed has been attacked by the rival National Unity Party over a youth sports policy which it says will promote homosexuality and sodomy
No thumbnail available

Youth face gay hate and bullying in Scottish schools

A new report highlights that a majority of LGBT youth face bullying and anti-gay hate in Scotland's education system
Russian judge strikes down fine against gay 'foreign agents'

Russian judge strikes down fine against gay 'foreign agents'

Side by Side LGBT Film Festival wins final appeal against case which fined them for being ‘foreign agents’
No thumbnail available

Burma prepares for first ever public LGBT rights celebration

‘Our message is just to end homophobia - this is not a political issue’ says IDAHO Burma organiser
No thumbnail available

New Steel Magnolias trailer faithful to the beloved original

Queen Latifah heads all-star cast in remake of gay fave
No thumbnail available

The Butler director Lee Daniels glad he didn't commit suicide over anti-gay bullying

'I had a rough childhood growing up - very rough ... Thank God I didn’t kill myself'
No thumbnail available

Florida gay marriage: Fort Lauderdale celebrates with mass beach wedding

Blockbuster queer destination will see gay and straight couples marry alongside each other at huge event
No thumbnail available

US marriage campaign leader speaks in Sydney

The leader of US national campaign group Freedom to Marry told GSN the story of how the fight for marriage equality had begun in the US, where it will be going in the year to come, and why we will win in the end
No thumbnail available

The word 'faggot' has been used in 2.4 million tweets since July

New website NoHomophobes.com keeps live tally of homophobic language on Twitter
No thumbnail available

Australian heath alliance urges remembrance of suicide victims on Transgender Day of Remembrance

Australia’s National LGBTI Health Alliance has used the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance to highlight the high rate of suicide among transgender people due to the discrimination they face