Russian Constitutional Court Rules on Anti-Gay Law
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today expressed concern over the Russian Constitutional Court ruling upholding the discriminatory anti-“propaganda” law. The case was brought before the court by three human rights activists on the grounds that the law violates the constitutional right to freedom of speech and discriminates against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. The Constitutional Court justified its decision on grounds that the anti-“propaganda” law does not ban all speech on the topic of homosexuality, but rather limits speech that is targeted at minors.
“This disappointing ruling legitimizes an unjust law created to target and oppress Russia’s LGBT community,” said Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord. “However the court makes it clear that the law’s application should be limited to cases involving minors.”
Since the 2013 enactment of the vaguely worded anti-“propaganda” law, Russian human rights activists and members of the LGBT community have faced harassment from government officials, threats of violence, and imprisonment for peaceful public demonstrations. The court’s limited interpretation of the law restricts the circumstances in which individuals and organizations can be prosecuted under the law and recognizes the right of the Russian LGBT community to carry out public events and discussions.
Human Rights First continues to urge the U.S. government to press Russian officials to suspend its discriminatory anti-“propaganda” law, end the systematic persecution of civil society, and prevent the spread of Russian-style anti-“propaganda” laws in the surrounding region.