The Supreme Court of Russia has officially declared the international LGBT movement to be an extremist organization. This decision comes at the urging of the Ministry of Justice and prohibits the movement from engaging in activities within Russian territory. The court’s ruling will have “immediate” effect and includes a ban on propaganda, advertising, generating interest, and encouraging members to join the ranks of the LGBT movement.
The ruling does not affect the citizens’ right to private life, as homosexuality ceased to be a crime in Russia back in 1993. The decision was made behind closed doors, with only representatives of the Ministry of Justice in attendance. Additionally, LGBT activists who created the International LGBT Civic Movement, meant to defend the rights of the movement, were not invited to the hearing.
The Ministry of Justice cited “extremist tendencies” and “incitement to social and religious hatred” as reasons for the banning of the LGBT movement. However, Russian human rights organizations opposed the decision, stating that it is impossible to consider a civic movement as extremist.
The ban also goes against constitutional clauses that establish Russia as a secular state. As a result of the ban, the organizers of the movement may be sentenced to 10 years in prison, and members are subject to persecution.
In recent years, Russia has introduced laws that completely ban LGBT propaganda, pedophilia, and sex-change surgical operations. The 2020 constitutional reform solidified marriage as a union between a man and a woman, reflecting President Putin’s stance against homosexual marriage in Russia. Deputy Minister of Justice, André Luguinov, has assured the UN that there is no discrimination or persecution of the homosexual community in Russia.
While the ban on the public demonstrations of the LGBT group is justified by Russia’s moral values, many have criticized it as an infringement on the rights and freedom of this community.