Russia has upheld the gay propaganda law in the Constitutional Court. But gay activists believe the phrasing of the ruling could be key to finding an end to the federal law.
Earlier this morning, one of the highest courts in the country found the law that bans ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations’ to be constitutional.
Gay rights activsts Nikolai Alekseev, Yaroslav Yevtushenko and Dmitry Isakov filed a complaint after they were found in violation of the law and fined 4,000 rubles ($104, €82).
They lost their case, with the court ruling they had actively promoted homosexuality when they held pro-gay signs in St Petersburg.
But the activists are not giving up. They believe the court’s statement is enough to prove that the law cannot stop their human rights of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.
The statment reads: ‘The contested provisions [of the Russian legislation] are not intended to ban homosexuality as is, and cannot be viewed as allowing to curb the rights of citizens based on their sexual orientation.
‘They also do not imply a ban on any information concerning unorthodox sexual relations.’
However the Constitutional Court said if a member of the public were to ‘actively’ promote homosexuality among minors, then it is seen as a violation of the law.
They further stated the legislators intended to preserve the ‘integrity’ of traditional views on the family.
Alekseev, on the other hand, described it as a ‘great breakthrough for the rights of LGBT people in Russia’.
‘It was evident the court has no ability for fully recognize the law as unconstitutional,’ the lawyer said.
‘Based on this decision, any further bans on public LGBT events in Russia are impossible because it is not about the promotion of homosexuality and the struggle for their rights.’
When Alekseev takes his legal case opposing the regional bans in St Petersburg, Arkhangelsk and Ryazan to the European Court of Human Rights, he is now expecting a ‘full victory’.
‘We will see this federal law repealed at some point because the international community is already legally pressuring the Russian courts,’ Alekseev told Gay Star News.
‘There’s a lot of talk and discussion, boycotts and stuff like that, with all this discussion you don’t see all the real legal work that has been done in the last year.
‘This is what really has an effect.’