Russian Government rejects ECHR ruling declaring anti same-sex marriage laws a human rights violation

The Government rejected the European Court of Human Rights ruling, saying it "contradicts the foundations of Russian rule of law and morality.” 

A Russian building in the middle of a busy square

The Russian government has rejected the European Court of Human Rights ruling which deemed the country’s conservative laws around LGBTQ+ marriage equality to be in violation of human rights laws. 

The court ruled on Tuesday (July 13) that Russia has an obligation under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights to “ensure respect for the applicants’ private and family life” in this case by allowing LGBTQ+ couples the right to marry. 

The case was brought before the court by three LGBTQ+ couples whose marriage applications were denied by their respective local authorities in Russia. 

The Russian government argued that “the majority of Russians disapprove of same-sex unions”. The ECHR rejected this argument, however, the Russian government counter that their anti-LGBTQ+ marriage equality laws protect the interests of the community as a whole.  

The court admitted that Article 8 does not explicitly require EU member states to impose marriage equality between LGBTQ+ couples, however, they stated that there has to be a “fair balance between the interests of same-sex couples and the community as a whole.” The court also stated that “access to rights for a minority could not be dependent on the acceptance of the majority”.

Despite the court’s ruling, as well as Amnesty International’s statement on the matter declaring that “Russia is on the wrong side of history”, Russian MP Vasily Piskarev has rejected the ruling declaring that:

“The ruling, which tries to make Russia register same-sex marriages, contradicts the foundations of Russian rule of law and morality.” 

Speaking on Russia, Amnesty International stated, “This landmark decision underlines that the Russian government is on the wrong side of history, supporting and enabling homophobia and depriving LGBTI people of their basic human rights. The court explicitly stated that the Russian state is obliged to respect the human rights of same-sex couples and guarantee their equal recognition under the law.

“While there is little hope that the Russian authorities will lift the ban on same-sex marriages, this ruling provides alternative ways in which same-sex unions can be legally recognized.

“We call on the Russian authorities to immediately end all forms of discrimination against LGBTI people, repeal the homophobic law on ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations’ and take all measures to fully protect LGBTI people and their human rights, including the right to family.”

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