Russians Protest Anti-Gay Propaganda Law, Pressure European Court Of Human Rights To Act

Russian LGBT equality activists gathered in St. Petersburg on Sunday to protest an anti-gay propaganda measure that calls for a fine of up to $1,600 for “public actions aimed at propaganda of pederasty, lesbianism, bisexuality, and transgenderism among minors.” The measure, which has passed the first of three readings, is intended to limit any public discussion or display about the LGBT community. Lawmakers are considering similar legislation in Moscow and have even suggested that the St. Petersburg rules could be extended to other regions or into federal legislation.

In the video below, police officers ask the protesters for their personal documentation, but the activists then turn the tables and request to see the police officer’s credentials and a copy of the protest codes. Watch it:

Meanwhile, LGBT groups are also challenging the spread of anti-gay legislation in European courts. On Monday, lawyers for activist Nikolai Baev sent a letter to the European Court of Human Rights asking the body to review his pending case against an ant-gay propaganda law in light of the recent push to extend such measures. In his complaint, Baev argues that penalties against the promotion of homosexuality violate his right to freedom of expression guaranteed by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Baev also charges Russian authorities with violating Article 14 of the Convention, which prohibits discrimination, including sexual orientation.

The case stems from an arrest in 2009, when Russian authorities found Baev and another activist guilty of promoting homosexuality to minors. The two had been holding signs that read, “Homosexuality is normal” and “I am proud of my homosexuality. Ask me about it.” The case had been referred to the European court two years ago.