A European human rights court has ruled that Russian courts were in violation of the freedom of assembly rights of sexual minorities by rejecting gay pride events applications.
Over the past decade, Russian courts have either banned LGBT+ events or backtracked on earlier promises to allow them, citing a 2013 law banning “homosexual propaganda” among minors.
The law covers anything regarded by authorities as an attempt to promote homosexuality to minors, it has also been used to stop Pride events, public talks and forms of activism.
Earlier this year, 16 year-old Maxim Neverov, became the first minor to be prosecuted under the gay propaganda law and was initially fined 50,000 rubles for posting pictures of topless men hugging to his social media account.
Neverov appealed, and the judge, eventually finding there was not enough evidence to establish guilt, overturned the case.
Earlier this year, seven activists filed 51 applications with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), alleging discrimination and a violation of their freedom of association.
In its ruling on Tuesday, the ECHR said that “the ban on holding LGBT public assemblies imposed by the domestic authorities did not correspond to a pressing social need and was thus not necessary in a democratic society.”
The UN Human Rights Committee and the ECHR have criticised the ‘homosexual propaganda’ law as discriminatory.
Russian LGBT+ activits tried to raise funds in order to hold the fifth annual LGBTQIA Family Conference in Moscow which was due to take place in early November.
Last year, around 400 people attended the conference and 35 speakers were featured, with discussions around how to best support LGBT+ people and families taking place.
Although same-sex parenting is not outlawed in Russia, it is a hostile place for LGBT+ families, explains Aronchik. The threat of the 2013 law banning the spread of “propaganda for non-traditional sexual relations” to minors looms over Russian same-sex parents, and Aronchik says that LGBT+ parents have “nowhere to turn.”
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