The ban against gay pride marches in Russia was struck down today in the regional court of Kostrama.
It is the first, in a series of challenges against the ban barring ‘homosexual propaganda,’ to be struck down in a major victory for LGBT activist in the region. The ruling will only affect the region of Kostrama, located east of Moscow, but it signals a change in attitude due to international pressure for the ban to be removed.
Last week during the United Nation’s International Human Rights Council, the Russian LGBT Network went to Geneva to shed light on the increasingly oppressive policies for LGBT people. The Anti-Homosexual Propaganda Ban, otherwise known as 6.13.1, has been adopted in 10 regions so far, including the densely populated areas around St. Petersburg and Moscow.
While it is seen as a victory for LGBT activists because the court ruling will allow Gay Pride Marches in its respective region; the court has yet to overturn a ban against ‘homosexual propaganda’ or a ban against LGBT activists protesting publicly.
Russia remains a country leaning towards an increasingly anti-LGBT stance. A recent survey conducted by the Levada Center announced that 85% of Russians opposed same sex marriage and 27% thought that homosexuals were in need of ‘treatment’ and a startlingly 5% thought that gays needed to be ‘liquidated.’
The current ban on ‘Homosexual Propaganda’ outlaws any demonstration of homosexuality, including something as small as a kiss on the street between same sex people, and can result in fines of up to an equivalent of $16,000 dollars or 2 years imprisonment. The ban has also been used to declare a moratorium on pride festivals in Moscow and St. Petersburg.The International Community have unanimously decried the ban as an infringement against human rights. “¨”¨
Russian LGBT activist Anastasia Smirnova of The Russian LGBT Network recently told 429Magazine:
“¨”¨“The Russian government is effectively sanctioning legal discrimination and sending a message to Russian society that sexual minorities are undeserving of equal rights under the law. Under the law, activities such as gay pride parades, campaigns for greater recognition of LGBT rights, sexual health projects, or even the flying of a rainbow flag, could be prohibited. As such, the law allows the Russian government to severely limit the fundamental freedoms of both LGBT people, as well as any Russian citizen deemed to be promoting “homosexual propaganda.”