Russia high court upholds ban on ‘homosexual propaganda’
Russia high court upholds ban on ‘homosexual propaganda’

[JURIST] The Constitutional Court of Russia [official website] ruled Thursday that the law banning “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” among minors is not in breach of the Russian Constitution [text]. The controversial law [text, in Russian], which entered into force in June 2013, was challenged [RAPSI report] by three LGBT-rights activists: Nikolay Alekseev, Yaroslav Evtushenko and Dmitry Isakov, who had each been found guilty of disseminating propaganda of unconventional sexual relations to minors and fined 4,000 rubles (USD $120). The activists contended that the ban undermined their constitutional right of freedom of speech and discriminated against the LGBT community. According to the court, the law does not limit the rights of homosexual citizens but is meant to prevent the promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships. Under the law private individuals, civil servants and private entities who disseminate homosexual “propaganda” to minors face civil penalties ranging from 4,000 rubles for individuals to one million rubles (USD $30,500) for private entities.

Russia has drawn heavy criticism from the UN and international community over government actions targeting homosexuals. In February Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev [official website] announced a decree [JURIST report] banning gay couples or single people from countries that legally allow same-sex marriage from adopting Russian children. Also in February the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child [official website] urged the Russian government to repeal legislation banning the dissemination of homosexual “propaganda” to minors. Last February independent experts joined with UN Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression, human rights defense, cultural rights and the right to health to caution legislators [JURIST report] in the Russian State Duma that the law had the potential to subvert fundamental human rights to freedom of expression by specifically targeting and restricting the activity of “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.”