The country’s Arkhangelsk region has adopted a draft law banning all events promoting homosexuality, among them Gay Pride marches.
The draft was put forward by local activists, intellectuals and religious groups. They hope the law will protect the moral well-being of Russian children and put an end to what they consider to be the popularizing of homosexuality among the under-aged.
Russian authorities have always been strictly against Gay Pride parades. Gay rights activists have been applying for permission to hold a parade in Moscow for several years without success. The bans are warmly supported by the Russian Orthodox Church.
“All priests know that the souls of those who suffered through sinful homosexual experience are empty and desperate,” said Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Russian Orthodox Church PR department. “And it is this insecurity in a minute-long pleasure that forces these spiritually unhealthy people to hold marches and other public demonstrations.”
In July 2011, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the decision to repeatedly ban Gay Pride parades in 2006, 2007 and 2008 was unlawful. Russia has paid €30,000 in compensation to gay activists. Still, the parades are being banned due to the “negative response they provoke among Russians.”
Russian gay rights activists, in response, have planned their demonstrations for the next hundred years – they have submitted their requests “to help mass cultural and educational activities from 2012 to 2112.”
They say the aim is to expose what they call the “absurdity” of the laws which the authorities use to deny them the right to conduct their events.
The legal loophole the activists are trying to exploit stipulates that applications to hold a demonstration should be filed to local authorities no less than 45 days before the event. The law does not prohibit filing requests earlier.