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Russian Federation: Russian Supreme Court Deprived Aggressive Homophobes of Excuses
Today Russian Supreme Court published the full text of its October 3rd decision against LGBT organization Coming Out's challenge of the "gay propaganda" law of St. Petersburg.
This decision followed another Supreme Court's ruling in favor of the similar law in Arkhangelsk in September of this year.
"We were hoping to find new arguments in the court's reasoning for the rejection of our appeal," says Ksenia Kirichenko, lawyer and coordinator of the Legal Aid program of Coming Out. The wording itself of the St. Petersburg law is different from its Arkhangelsk counterpart. For example, in St. Petersburg, the law bans propaganda of "transgenderism" (illiterately labeled "non-traditional sexual relationships" by the Supreme Court). But even though the St. Petersburg case was considered by completely different judges, the published decision contains no new arguments or reasoning. They simply copied excerpts from the Arkhangelsk decision without considering the difference between the two measures. "
Still, Coming Out activists believe this decision to be significant. It clearly indicates that even this ignorant law cannot prohibit public dissemination of information about homosexuality, bisexuality and transgenderness. Earlier, activists argued that the danger of the law is not just in that it represents state discrimination. Its grave consequence is the increased aggression and violence towards gays and lesbians and LGBT rights defenders, with the aggressors using the law as a motive and an excuse for the acts of violence.
With its decision, the Supreme Court effectively banned such aggressive actions by stating that LGBT activists have the right to carry out rallies, and to raise awareness of the vulnerable position of LGBT in Russia and of the need to respect their human dignity. Thus, the text of the decision makes it clear that the "gay propaganda" law does not justify attacks on LGBT people, including those during the May Day March (May 1), and the International Day against Homophobia rally (May 17) of this year.
Coming Out is going to continue working not only to prove the illegality of the law itself, but to counter its consequences, making sure the local police and judges understand and properly use these Supreme Court arguments.