Moscow’s current ban was challenged by homosexual activist Nikolay Alexeyev, who has been requesting permission to hold parades in the city for years. However, the court ruled that such parades are unwanted by many community members and may cause public disorder from dissenters.
The former mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, had stated previously that he believes homosexual pride parades are “satanic.”
“We will appeal against the actions taken by the Russian authorities, which have banned gay pride parades in Moscow for the next 100 years, in the European Court of Human Rights in the nearest future,” Alexeyev stated. “Thus, we will get the invalidation of the bans not only on past, but also future gay pride parades in the Russian capital.”
Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, but cities such as Moscow prohibit the homosexual lifestyle from being promoted in the streets.
Alexeyev had been fined the equivalent of $170 in May for breaking the “homosexual propaganda” law of the city of St. Petersburg, which criminalizes “public action aimed at propagandising sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism, and transgenderism among minors.” He had been picketing city hall with a sign that read, “Homosexuality is not a perversion.”
Some contested the fine, stating that there were no children in the vicinity where Alexeyev was protesting.
According to reports, public polls from 2010 indicated that 38% of Russians believed that homosexuality is a “bad habit” and 36% said it was “a sickness or result of a psychological trauma.” However, 41% stated that they did not believe laws should be passed that “discriminate” against homosexuals.
In October 2010, the European Court of Human Rights, located in Strausburg, fined the city of Moscow over $41,000 for denying Alexeyev’s requests to host homosexual pride parades.
“The mere risk of a demonstration creating a disturbance was not sufficient to justify its ban,” the court opined.
However, the city of Moscow defied the ruling and has continued to uphold the ban on the parades, breaking them up forcefully at times.
The Court will now review Moscow’s response in September and may take further action against the city.
Photo: Christophe Meneboeuf