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European Court finds Russia’s legislation on gay propaganda to be discriminatory

June 20, 2017, 12:59 UTC+3 PARIS

Russia’s decision to ban the promotion of homosexuality among minors is violating Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights, the court finds

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European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg

European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg


PARIS, June 20. /TASS/. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has delivered its judgement in the Bayev and Others v. Russia case, which concerned a complaint against Russia’s legislation banning the promotion of homosexuality among underage children.

The Court stressed that it considered Russia’s decision to ban the promotion of homosexuality among minors to be a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as a violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) in conjunction with Article 10 of the Convention.

The court made this decision by six votes to one.

"The Court found in particular that, although the laws in question aimed primarily at protecting minors, the limits of those laws had not been clearly defined and their application had been arbitrary. Moreover, the very purpose of the laws and the way they were formulated and applied in the applicants’ case had been discriminatory and, overall, served no legitimate public interest. Indeed, by adopting such laws the authorities had reinforced stigma and prejudice and encouraged homophobia, which was incompatible with the values of a democratic society," the ECHR said in a press release.

Russia's appeal 

The Russian Justice Ministry within three months to come will appeal the ECHR decision to recognize as discriminatory the Russian law prohibiting LGBT propaganda among minors and to award a compensation of 49,100 euros to Russian citizens Nikolai Bayev, Aleksey Kiselyov and Nikolai Alekseyev (founder of the GayRussia. Ru project).

"Within three months the Russian Justice Ministry together with other bodies of state power concerned will arrange for formulating Russia’s legal stance in order to appeal the ruling in question in the ECHR Grand Chamber," the Justice Ministry said.

The ministry explained that it disagreed with the ECHR conclusions regarding alleged convention violations. The Justice Ministry proceeds from the understanding that "the provisions of a number of regional laws banning LGBT propaganda among minors do not contradict international practices and are aimed exclusively at protecting children’s morality and health."

"The corresponding legal acts established no measures aimed at prohibiting homosexuality or at its official condemnation, contained no traces of discrimination and permitted no excessive actions by bodies of public power," the Justice Ministry said.

"The Russian Constitution guarantees the equality of rights and freedoms of the individual and citizen regardless of various circumstances and prohibits any restrictions on the rights of citizens on account of social status, race, nationality, language or religion." In that connection, the Justice Ministry said, the disputed legal provisions cannot be regarded as disproportionate restrictions on the freedom of speech.

The European Court of Human Rights on June 20 pronounced its verdict in the Bayev and Others vs Russia case. The plaintiffs questioned the legality of Russia’s bans on the propaganda of homosexuality among minors. The ECHR said that it in its opinion Russia’s decision was in breach of articles 10 and 14 of the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The court’s decision was adopted by a majority of six votes against one.

The Russian Justice Ministry said the ECHR ruling in the Bayev, Kiselyov and Alekseyev vs Russia case had not taken effect yet.

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