Russian High Court Upholds Anti-Gay Law, Activists Fined
Russia’s highest court ruled this week that the country’s highly controversial "homosexual propaganda" law is constitutional, according to Russia & India Report.
Leading Russian LGBT activist Nikolai Alexeyev filed a complaint against the law, but the judges sided with lawmakers that originally passed the measure, claiming that it was needed to protect children from the LGBT community.
Alexeyev, the founder of Moscow Pride, asked the court to rule on the law based on prejudice, allowing for discrimination against LGBT people. The judges, however, ruled that the Constitution allows Russia to protect motherhood, childhood and family. This means lawmakers must "take measures to protect children from information, propaganda and campaigns that can harm their health and moral and spiritual development."
The judges ruled that the "homosexual propaganda" law protected children and " that the exercise of civil rights and freedoms could not be permitted at the cost of other people’s rights," Russia & India Reports writes.
The judges made their ruling on Oct. 24, but it wasn’t released to the public until Tuesday.
To make matters worse, Alexeyev, along with LGBT activist Yaroslav Yevtushenko, was fined on Tuesday for breaking the same law he was trying to shutdown, according to the Moscow Times reports. The newspaper also reports that this is the first time the national "homosexual propaganda" law has been enforced and the first time someone has been fined under the law.
Others, including Alexeyv, have been fined under St. Petersburg’s "homosexual propaganda" law last year.
Alexeyev and Yevtushenko were each hit with a 4,000-ruble fine ($120) for holding a banner that read, "Gay propaganda doesn’t exist. People don’t become gay, people are born gay," near a library in the northern city of Arkhangelsk. As BuzzFeed reports, a court found them guilty of "violating Part 1 of Article 6.21 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, which prohibits the promotion of ’non-traditional sexual relations’ among minors."
"It is the first in the history of Russian court decisions on prosecution for promoting non-traditional sexual relations under the new federal law," Alexeyev said, according to Gay Russia (via BuzzFeed), after he left the court hearing.