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Russia high court upholds ‘gay propaganda’ ban

LGBT Legal Cases

St. Petersburg, Russia
St. Petersburg, Russia

A little LGBT legal news out of Russia, where the country’s highest court has held that a law prohibiting so-called ‘gay propaganda’ does not violate the Russian constitution.  RIA Novosti reports:

The Constitutional Court dismissed a complaint from Nikolai Alexeyev, a leading gay rights campaigner, that St. Petersburg city council had acted unconstitutionally by passing legislation to ban the promotion of homosexuality among minors.

The law, which came into effect in March 2012, allows for fines of up to 5,000 rubles ($150) for individuals and up to 500,000 rubles ($15,000) for organisations. A similar federal law banning the promotion of “non-traditional sexual relationships” among minors took effect in June this year.

Alexeyev brought the suit challenging the law after a St. Petersburg city court fined him in May 2012 for demonstrating with a quote by actress Faina Ranevskaya that read, “Homosexuality is not a perversion, unlike grass hockey or ice ballet.”  The LGBT rights activist argued that the law discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation and was animated by prejudice; the court disagreed, saying that the state was obligated under the constitution to protect children and the family.  From RIA Novosti:

Legislators therefore had a duty to “take measures to protect children from information, propaganda and campaigns that can harm their health and moral and spiritual development”. The court ruled that the law against gay propaganda was such a measure, arguing that the exercise of civil rights and freedoms could not be permitted at the cost of other people’s rights.

It also dismissed Alexeyev’s complaint that the law was discriminatory, saying the ban applied equally to gay and heterosexual people and did not discrimate on grounds of sexual orientation. The court’s ruling was made on October 24, but released publicly on Tuesday.

In a separate case, a court in the northern city of Murmansk fined Alexeyev and fellow activist Yarosvlav Yevtushenko 4,000 rubles each on Tuesday. The GayRussia campaign website said that the two men had been convicted under the gay propaganda law for holding up banners outside a children’s library that read “gay propaganda doesn’t exist. People don’t become gay, people are born gay”.


  • 1. Michelle Evans  |  December 4, 2013 at 11:09 am

    More insanity from Russia. And this is exactly what organizations like NOM are hoping will happen in America. Certainly glad that Obama won in 2012 or else those sorts of laws would probably be in the works right now.

  • 2. Dann  |  December 4, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Those poor unfortunate people of Russia. I feel very badly for them.

  • 3. Sean from NJ  |  December 4, 2013 at 11:35 am

    OT: Anyone following the trial in Utah today?

  • 4. Just curious  |  December 4, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Seems like it's still not out. My contacts, twitter, and google searches have been silent as the grave.

  • 5. Gregory in SLC  |  December 4, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Yes! Attended with Hubby and Kathleen. Three hours….attorney for plaintiff Ms Tomsic was brilliant, Judge was patient, stated he was "here to learn", the state was remarkably inept, their main arguments was 1) tradition (always been this way, why change it) 2) procreation ad nauseum 3) We don't know the effects so better prevent change…"too soon to tell, should be cautious". News media was there from all the local stations, HBO…and some others. It was a good day 🙂

  • 6. davep  |  December 4, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Excellent! That sounds promising! Looking forward to hearing more about this one.

  • 7. Pat  |  December 5, 2013 at 12:18 am

    Also interesting is the questions asked by the judge. From the link prodives in the previous post's comments, "Shelby also questioned if having children is essential to a person being able to take advantage of the constitutional right to marriage, proving his point by asking the state attorneys if Utah would consider giving fertilization tests before granting marriage licenses. He also asked how allowing a heterosexual post-menopausal woman to marry was different than allowing a gay or lesbian couple to wed."

  • 8. grod  |  December 5, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Gregory: Kind of expected that you would be there. While the link… is to the record for the Sept 5 hearing in Kitchen vs Herbert before District Court Judge Robert Shelby, it set the stage for the Dec 4 hearing on all related motions. I will keep a watch to see when the transcript of the December hearing is 'published' . Am I right that Shelby undertook to render a decisions on this motions by early January. What are you expecting?

  • 9. SoCal_Dave  |  December 4, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    "It also dismissed Alexeyev’s complaint that the law was discriminatory, saying the ban applied equally to gay and heterosexual people and did not discrimate on grounds of sexual orientation."

    Odd statement. I mean, would it matter to them if it is discriminatory on grounds of sexual orientation? Why do they bother making that distinction? It almost sounds like they would care (though clearly they don't).

  • 10. davep  |  December 4, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Exactly. According to the 'logic' of their court's statement about the law applying equally, people would ALSO be getting fined if they were promoting 'traditional marriage' and heterosexuality. What a bunch of damned liars.

  • 11. bayareajohn  |  December 4, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    I believe they mean that the law is applied equally to anyone promoting homosexuality to minors, regardless of the sexual orientation of the person doing the promotion. Hence, the ban is on the act, not based on who is acting.

  • 12. Richard Weatherwax  |  December 4, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    I heard that argument someplace before. Where was it? . . . Oh yes. It was Loving v. Virginia. The argument was that the law against mixed marriages applied equally to blacks and whites, therefore it did not discriminate on grounds of race.

  • 13. Steve  |  December 5, 2013 at 5:30 am

    "In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets, and steal loaves of bread" — Anatole France

  • 14. Eric  |  December 4, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    The defense for these cases is simple, pre-Revolution history shows that homosexuality was traditional in Russia's rural areas.

  • 15. Dr. Z  |  December 4, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    A little while ago we called our financial advisor up and divested our 401(k) from any funds that invest in Russia. I suggest others do likewise. The recent Wall Street protests seem to have struck a nerve with them.

  • 16. Straight Ally #3008  |  December 4, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Hey Mark Regnerus, hope you're proud of this.

  • 17. Brad  |  December 4, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    I will NOT buy Russian Vodka….Such ignorance, not from the people but the DAM GOVERNMENT
    Let them stay in the stone age…pfft

  • 18. Rik  |  December 4, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    The Stoli boycott I find a little bit odd, especially since it is not even made it Russia… but Stoli in particular is an extremely gay positive company that donates to LGBT issues

  • 19. Brad  |  December 5, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Yeah but some Vodka's are made in Russia, correct?
    Just sick of Russia and their dam ignorance….gawd

  • 20. Rik  |  December 5, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    I'm sick of it too, and by all means, boycott Russian companies– especially if they are haters. But the vodka boycott had specifically targeted Stoli for some reason. Meanwhile one of my good friends is one of the gay Stoli boys… they in particular are a brand that cherishes the gay community.

  • 21. Brad  |  December 6, 2013 at 6:59 am

    Well I am a Grey Goose FANATIC sooooo… he he
    Thanks for that info on Stoli, wasn't aware of [email protected]!

  • 22. kevin  |  December 6, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Are folks dumping Coke-a -Cola too? Coca-Cola, an Olympic sponsor reportedly has 16 plants across the Russia Federation and employs 13,000 people. Moreover, "The Russian government is already making serious efforts to restrain alcohol consumption by raising taxes and prices, controlling raw material supplies, curbing sales and banning advertising, seriously punishing their OWN alcohol producers." Vladimir Putin sends the US his hugs and kisses. Yet, where are the calls for pension funds and insurance companies to divest their Russian investments? Meanwhile, Exxon, the world's largest publicly traded oil company signed an agreement in March with STATE-owned Rosneft giving the Russian national oil company a 20 percent stake in 30 licenses held by Exxon. Exxon has budgeted $190 billion over the next five years for Russian exploration and development opportunities." While Stoli donates and supports many gay pride events, Exxon refuses to include sexual orientation gender identity/expression in their non-discrimination policies. Are we kicking the family dog out convenience, customer lack of critical thinking skills, or based on fact? Meanwhile, many activists enjoy their Coke and fill gas tanks at the local Exxon. Stoli's parent SPI Group, though its actions against discrimination may demonstrate that they are more of an ally than an adversary. "Russia’s leading gay rights advocate, Nikolai Alexeyev, has discouraged activists from pursuing the vodka boycott " – Salon.

  • 23. reborn  |  December 4, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    should probably boycott coca cola and delta for supporting the Russian economy

  • 24. Zack12  |  December 4, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    Make no mistake,groups like NOM,FRC and FOF have all praised the laws being passed in Russia.
    They want us jailed or dead,simple as that and if McCain had won in 08,we would have had a Supreme Court that would have upheld Section 3 of DOMA.
    We can't let our guard down here,as shown with the VRA and other things,the other side will NEVER give up the fight to keep up second class citizens or roll the clock back,they simply won't.

  • 25. weshlovrcm  |  December 5, 2013 at 12:18 am

    No surprise. Just as the Russian courts were controlled by the communist party in the past, so too today are the courts controlled by Putin's anti-gay party.

  • 26. Brad  |  December 5, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Hearing this news on Russia, I am SO grateful I am Canadian, and I love America, which is coming along, but it saddens me so to see the bigotry still happening worldwide…people
    in this world need to stop the hating…it ISNT ROCKET SCIENCE….so dam simple….gawd
    I am straight and i plan on helping for equality till this crap ends.

  • 27. Tommy  |  December 23, 2013 at 5:37 am

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