As LGBT equality activists in Russia protest St. Petersburg’s anti-gay propaganda bill, proponents of the measure are trying to frame the legislation as an effort to not only preserve the nation’s family values, but also protect young people from being converted into homosexuality and worsening the nation’s demographic crisis. Elena Babich, a local lawmaker who voted in favor of the legislation on its first reading, explains in a column for Izvestia that the measure is designed to save Russia from the same fate now plaguing neighboring Germany:
In Germany, they have awakened to their ongoing extinction as a nation. But here [in Russia], during the day of the city, we have hanging all over St. Petersburg the face of Peter the First and a bright rainbow. Why the rainbow, when it’s the global symbol of the gays? But here, all around the city – from the kindergarten “Rainbow” to the pharmacy “Rainbow.” All rejoice. Soon we will be rejoicing to the point of extinction.
Meanwhile, with the second-reading expected later this week, equality proponents have launched a campaign to “persuade the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to instigate an early hearing of an appeal over a similar law passed in 2006 in the Ryazan region of Russia.” That case stems from a 2009 arrest of Irina Fedotova and Nikolai Baev for “holding a banner in front of a local school stating that ‘Homosexuality is normal.’”
LGBT groups feel the court’s condemnation of the law could help stop the St. Petersburg measure. In the 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.