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Pray the gay away: St. Petersburg politician claims fasting and prayer a ‘cure’

Published time: September 25, 2012 12:09
Edited time: September 25, 2012 16:09
Vitaliy Milonov. (RIA Novosti / Vadim Zhernov)

Vitaliy Milonov. (RIA Novosti / Vadim Zhernov)

The author of the St. Petersburg bill banning gay propaganda continued his crusade by claiming in an interview that homosexuality is a bad habit that can be treated by fasting and prayer.

While speaking on the popular Russian talk radio show Ekho Moskvy, deputy Vitaliy Milonov of the St Petersburg city legislature said that homosexuality is an illness, which can be cured. He likened same-sex attraction to “a bad habit.”

Milonov said that if his son told him he was gay, he would take him to a priest who should tell the young man that he was partaking in a bad habit that one can easily quit.

“God can send many temptations upon us,” he said. “But the thing is, this illness is easily treated by fasting and praying. I do not know of a single case within the Russian Orthodox Church that a man would not be cured by his sincere repentance in this sin. People get rid of it, just like they get rid of kleptomania or, for instance, fornicators.”

Milonov gained notoriety this year for his relentless crusade against the LGBT community. He even received a parody award in June for his initiative to ban homosexuality in Russia until 2015. Milnov also suggested that a human embryo should have the same rights as a living person in his as-yet-unsuccessful attempt to outlaw abortion.

One of Milonov’s aims was indeed enacted by St. Petersburg. In February, the city legislature approved a bill banning the promotion of homosexuality and pedophilia among minors. Milonov then vowed to prosecute the German rock group Rammstein since they, in the deputy’s view, violated the bill during a February concert in St. Petersburg. No legal action followed this statement, but several Russian citizens were fined for street pickets protesting against the new regulation. The demonstrators held posters reading, “being gay is normal.”

Milnov also assailed other celebrities planning concerts in Russia’s second-largest city. Recently, the country’s Supreme Court issued a ruling that stymied Milonov’s ambitions – the ruling said that only direct calls for homosexual intercourse can be considered ‘propaganda,’ not stating one’s sexual preference as such.