Russian politicians back gay pride ban

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Russian politicians have spoken out in favour of the Mayor of Moscow’s decision to ban a gay pride parade in the capital amid protest plans in the UK by gay groups.

Ekaterina Lahova, who chairs the Duma’s committee on women, family and youth issues, entered the debate by saying it was not “safe for the state to propagate homosexuality” and the action by the Moscow authorities in banning a gay parade was a “perfectly correct decision”.

She said: “Love is supposed to be only between a man and a woman. They fall in love with each other, get married and have children.”

“This new trend that we can see nowadays does not help to continue the human race, Russia is a multi-faith state and it is a known fact that all religions are against homosexuality. Hence, there is no need to divide the state by holding such processions.”

Issa Kostoev, the member of the Federal Council Committee on Defence and Safety, and Ingushetia Republic Government representative to the Upper house of Russian Parliament praised the mayor’s actions, he said: “It is good that the officials working in Moscow City Administration are smart enough to ban this campaign.”

“The State is obliged to protect the interests of the majority of the population. So if we have to choose between 99% of population, who would not have supported this procession, and 1% of those, who would, we should opt for violating the rights of minority.”

He labelled a previous gay parade as a “disgusting and horrible show.”

“All of them were wearing their swim-suits and some of them had false plastic tits, others had pictures on their butts. Moreover, for some reason, they were wearing rollerblades. One cannot advertise repulsive stuff by saying that this is a human rights issue,” he said.

Lyubov Sliska, the First Vice-Speaker of the State Duma said people shouldn’t equate ‘human rights’ with ‘permissiveness’. She said: “Some say that the ban to hold Gay Parade does not correspond to human rights but one person asked me: ‘Who is going to protect my rights, if I don’t want to see this Parade?’ There are several million people in Moscow, who do not want homosexuals to have this procession. Who is going to protect their rights?”

Alexander Chuev, the deputy leader of the Rodina (motherland) group in the Duma and the head of ‘Christian and Democratic Perspectives’, said this issue has nothing to do with human rights. He said: “Here we can only talk about the propaganda of homosexuality and this is unacceptable from ethical and moral point of view for the sake of not only adults but mainly children.”

Mr Chuev added that he is in the process of preparing some amendments to the Penal Code about imposing sanctions for propagating homosexuality.

“Any human being, including the representatives of sexual minorities, has a right to their private life and to live the way they want with whoever they want. However, the Parade concerns not private but public life, hence human rights have nothing to do with this issue. One can talk about human rights violation, if a criminal liability for homosexuality was entered into force again.”

Organisers of Moscow Pride expressed shock at the wave of political statements, and said the deputies were uneducated. Nikolai Alekseev, who is also Executive Secretary of the IDAHO Committee, pledged again that “there will be no cancellation of the gay festival in Moscow.

“We will apply officially for the pride and let Mayor Luzhkov and other Russian politicians continue to express their real character and barbarity. It will show to all the world in the year of Russian presidency in G8 and Council of Europe who is supporting human rights and who is ready to step on them for the sake of their political dividends.”

“Nothing will make us surrender as we have almost reached our goal. Whatever statements will follow will only show the ‘stone age’ mentality of some Russian politicians.”

He added “We appeal to all foreign gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transexuals and heterosexuals, whether activists or not, whether famous or not, whether young or old, to support us in our fight for our democratic rights and liberties guaranteed to us by the Russian Constitution and European Convention on human rights. Please send letters of protest to the Russian President V. Putin and organise or take part in the protest against outburst of religious and political homophobia in Russia on March 2. You can do it in your countries which respect freedom to demonstrate and express your opinion.”

Meanwhile gay campaigners from the UK including Outrage leader Peter Tatchell and MEP Michael Cashman are planning an international protest against the Russian authorities.

Mr Tatchell said: “These attempts by the Russian state and religious leaders to suppress the right to protest are a throwback to the bad old days of czarist and communist totalitarianism.”

“The right to sexual self-determination and the right to protest are fundamental human rights that every democratic humanitarian nation must respect.”

Last week campaigners called on the Mayor of London to increase pressure on his Moscow counterpart about the issue.

George Broadhead of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) said Mr Livingstone should call for Yury Luzhkov to lift the ban.

“We are asking Ken Livingstone to point out to the mayor of Moscow that a gay pride celebration is a recognition of lesbian and gay human rights and should be welcomed,” he said.

“It is not something to be disapproved of or banned.”

A spokesperson for the London Mayor’s Office told that the mayor was still considering the letter.