Russia Clashes With European Court Over 'Gay Propaganda' Ruling

Dmitry Kiselev

Moscow Slams EU Court for Upholding Sanctions Against Russian Journalist Sputnik Vladimir Trefilov

20 June 2017Europe's highest human rights court today ruled that Russia's "gay propaganda" law is discriminatory and could encourage prejudice and homophobia.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg issued its much-anticipated ruling Tuesday, with the judges flatly rejecting the Russian government's defense that the law is created to protect the "morals and health of children".

The Russian Justice Ministry on Tuesday retorted that the "anti-gay propaganda" laws "have the sole objective of protecting morals and health of children". The court ruled in favor of the activists 6-1.

According to the ECHR ruling, Russia's gay propaganda law, which entered into force in 2013, violates the freedom of expression as well as the prohibition of discrimination proclaimed in the European Convention on Human Rights.

The law "reinforced stigma and prejudice and encouraged homophobia", the ruling said.

As Reuters notes, this is not the first time Russian Federation has found itself on the wrong side of one of the court's ruling.

Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russian Federation 1993, but homophobia and discrimination is still common.

The Kremlin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov states "it's important to note that we're talking about minors" when discussing the banning of the promotion of homosexuality.

The European Court on Tuesday ruled in their favour, deciding that Russian Federation had to pay them 43,000 euros ($48,000) in non-pecuniary damages. Tatiana Lokshina, the Russian program director for the Human Rights Watch, says claims of torture were credible, but they they haven't received new claims in a while, thus, "It seems like the Kremlin made Kadyrov stop", as a result of the consolidated worldwide pressure on Russia in the wake of the news of these camps.

"The only thing that we don't want, is that someone imposes this orientation on Russian citizens who are minors", Lavrov told reporters in Moscow.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reacted to the ruling saying people were not legally pursued due to their sexual orientation, including the LGBT community.

In a statement to Reuters, Nikolai Alekseyev, one of the activists, called the ruling a "historic victory".

Under the various Russian laws, if individuals use media or the internet for homosexual "propaganda" they can be fined up to 100,000 rubles ($3,000).

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