The Russian parliament (the Duma) is scheduled to consider a bill to ban “propaganda of homosexualism” on Dec. 19.
The bill would expand similar prohibitions that have been enacted — and protested — in nine areas of the country, most prominently in St. Petersburg. They are typically presented as a method of defending children against improper information.
Igor Kochetkov, chairman of the Russian LGBT Network, said, “One year of application of such laws in the regions have shown that, in practice, they are used to persecute dissidents, not to protect the children. ”
The group said that passage of such laws has unleashed anti-gay attacks by “nationalistic and ultra-right organizations. This is confirmed by a series of attacks against participants of peaceful events and meetings. In St.Petersburg unknown men attacked the exhibition of LGBT artists on March 12th, 2012. Also LGBT activists were attacked after the finish of approved meeting on June 12th, 2012. Night clubs in Tyumen and in Moscow were attacked on August 4th, 2012 and October 11th, 2012.”
The Russian Supreme Court has ruled that one region’s anti-gay-propaganda law is legal, but only as it applies to direct appeals to minors.
As the Child Rights International Network reported:
The Supreme Court of Russia upheld the Arkhangelsk region’s ban on “gay propaganda” [in September], but ruled that gay pride parades and other demonstrations in support of gay rights are legal.
According to the court, the ban applies only to direct appeals to minors to engage in homosexual activity and even then information about homosexuality can still be provided to minors as long as it is neutral in tone.
The ban, which has been proposed to extend nationally, imposes a fine of USD $1,600 for “gay propaganda.”
In a ruling on the case of Russian LGBT activist Nikolai Alekseyev, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Russian officials have violated citizens’ rights by repeatedly prohibiting public gatherings on the grounds of sexual orientation. In a commentary on the case, British academic Paul Johnson wrote:
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe currently have the execution of the judgment in Alekseyev under “enhanced supervision” and it is to be hoped that, given the ongoing blatant defiance of the ECHR decision by the Russian authorities, it will exercise its authority to compel the Russian Federation to remove anti-gay provisions that violate the human rights of homosexuals.
- Gang attack blamed on Russia’s ban on ‘gay propaganda’ (guardian.co.uk)
- Russia to Madonna: Show up for ‘gay propaganda’ trial (76crimes.com)
- Court rejects claim against Madonna in “gay propaganda” (indrus.in)
- Russian Court Tosses Madonna ‘Gay Propaganda’ Suit (towleroad.com)