Moscow Gay Pride Ban goes to European Court

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

An appeals court in Moscow upholds a lower court ruling today, stating that banning May’s gay pride parade was not illegal.

However, Dmitry Bartenev, a lawyer representing the groups, told the Russian news agency Novosti, “We intend to appeal shortly with the European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg to vindicate our rights, and also to lodge a complaint with the presidium of the Moscow City Court. We believe the decision it has handed down is against the law,”

Gay Pride organizers first went to court in May after the Moscow officials refused to grant a parade license, citing concerns about violence.

Despite the court ruling upholding the ban, an attempted parade was held on May 27. However it was soon stopped when police arrested marchers and counter protestors.

Police then pushed the arrested gay marchers from the area, and into the hands of militant anti-gays who had gathered for a counter protest. As more than 1000 police attempted to clear the area at least one tear gas canister was set off by an anti-gay protestor.

Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993 following the fall of Communism. However, gay people still aren’t treated as well as their heterosexual counterparts.

Earlier in May police were forced to form a human chain when over 150 skinheads and Russian Orthodox Church supporters gathered outside a gay event at a Moscow club, holding a party/rally in conjunction with the Pride celebrations.

However, the skinheads became violent, hurling tomatoes and plastic bottles at the clubgoers, while members of the Church held religious icons and prayed.

One gay man was reportedly beaten unconscious.