A Russian law that bans gay “propaganda” encourages homophobia and discrimination, the European court of human rights has ruled, in a sharply worded rebuke to the Kremlin. The court rejected the Russian government's claim that such a law was needed to protect morality.
“The [Russian] authorities had reinforced stigma and prejudice and encouraged homophobia, which was incompatible with the values — of equality, pluralism and tolerance — of a democratic society,” the court said.
It found that the government had "failed to demonstrate how freedom of expression on LGBT issues would devalue or otherwise adversely affect actual and existing 'traditional families' or would compromise their future".
The court’s decision is binding for countries that are signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights, which includes Russia.
The case concerned three Russian gay rights activists, Nikolay Bayev, Aleksey Kiselev and Nikolay Alekseyev, who were found guilty of administrative offenses and fined for their activism, which included holding up signs that said homosexuality is normal. The court ordered Russia to pay the activists a combined total of €50,000 in damages.