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St Petersburg repeals ‘gay propaganda’ law

Gay rights activists suspect ban was repealed is because lawmakers do not want to be 'humiliated' by the European Court of Human Rights
Nikolai Alekseev suspects the local law was repealed because the St Petersburg lawmakers did not want to be humiliated by the European Court of Human Rights.

St Petersburg has repealed the ‘gay propaganda’ law.

Lawmakers in the city’s local assembly decided there was no longer a need for a local law now there is a federal ban.

The second largest city in Russia was one of the first to introduce an anti-gay law in 2012.

Vitaly Milonov, who was the co-sponsor of the original homophobic legislation in St Petersburg, introduced the repeal but this does not mean he is supporting LGBTI people.

He said he will continue to fight against ‘gay propaganda’ and seek to criminalize such acts.

Lawyer and gay rights activist Nikolai Alekseev, who was the only person charged under the law in its two year history, has suggested Milonov was ‘scared’ the law would be forceably overturned by the European Court of Human Rights.

The highest court in Europe is expected to rule on several cases from Russia after activists were charged and fined under regional ‘gay propaganda’ bans.

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.

Alekseev said: ‘Milonov is obviously scared and decided to not wait for the humiliating verdict of the European Court of Human Rights.’

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