The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday that Russia has failed to justify the lack of legal acknowledgment for same-sex couples. The court stated in a press release that Russia has to provide a legal framework and policy to entitle same-sex couples to the same legal protection as opposite-sex couples. This is a violation of Section 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights.
The complaints were first filed by three Russian same-sex couples in 2016. The panel of judges unanimously found that Russia was guilty of a section 8 violation, stating that:
Although Article 8 does not explicitly oblige Council of Europe member states to recognize same-sex marriage, it does imply a need to strike a fair balance between same-sex couples’ needs and those of the community.
The court reiterated that mere legal acknowledgment would not contradict Russian anti-LGBT laws from a legal perspective as union legal protection can be provided in different forms, not necessarily from a marriage perspective.
Russia has since fired back at the court decision, calling it a foreign intervention in Russia’s domestic affairs. Vasily Piskarev has stated that the decision is in contradiction with the country’s laws and moral stance. Kremlin spokesperson and diplomat Dmitry Peskov has affirmed that there will be no form of compromise on the issue, as modifications will go against recent constitutional reforms that have affirmed that marriage is between a man and a woman. He has also reinforced that article 79 of the Russian constitution gives Russia the ability to ignore international treaties if they are inconsistent with the Russian constitution. President Vladimir Putin has not given a comment on the issue.