A Russian region has become the first to repeal a law banning ‘gay propaganda’ today (6 November).
Lawmakers in Arkhangelsk, in north Russia, decided there is no longer a need for a local law now there is a federal ban.
The region, known as ‘Archangel’, was the second after Ryazan to implement a local anti-gay law in 2011.
It was before seven others including Saint Petersburg followed in 2012.
In the two years since having a regional ban on gay propaganda, Arkhangelsk only found three activists guilty of disobeying the law.
Alekey Kiselev, Kirill Nepomnyashchii and Nikolai Alekseev were arrested, detained and charged by police for holding pickets outside a local children’s library in January 2012.
Kiselev, pictured, carried a placard that literally translates into English as: ‘Russia takes first place in the world of teenage suicides. Among them, a huge proportion are homosexuals.
‘They are going to take this step because of the lack of information about its nature.
‘Deputies are responsible for teen suicides. Homosexuality – it’s good!’
When the courts found the three guilty of gay propaganda and fined them under local law, they complained to the European Court of Human Rights.
In an incredible turn of events, the European Court of Human Rights has now agreed to open their case against regional gay propaganda laws in Arkhangelsk, as well as Ryazan and St Petersburg.
If the gay rights activists win their court case, which they believe they can, they believe the legal victory could be ‘extremely powerful’.
While the regional and federal bans are separate, overturning one in the European Court of Human Rights could lead to the repeal of the other.
Speaking to Gay Star News, Alekseev said: ‘I am very happy! We are making history!’