European judges just said Russia’s ‘gay propaganda’ law encourages homophobia

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Russia’s “gay propaganda” law is discriminatory and fuels homophobia.

The judges said Russia had discriminated against three gay rights activists who opposed the law and brought the issue to the court.

The law also “reinforced stigma and prejudice and encouraged homophobia”, the ruling said.

The judges concluded that the law breached European treaty rules on freedom of expression.

“The very purpose of the laws and the way they were formulated and applied in the applicants’ case had been discriminatory and, overall, served no legitimate public interest,” the Strasbourg-based court said.

“Indeed, by adopting such laws, the authorities had reinforced stigma and prejudice and encouraged homophobia, which was incompatible with the values of a democratic society.”

It was adopted in 2013, outlawing “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” among people under 18.

It also bans people sharing “distorted ideas about the equal social value of traditional and non-traditional sexual relationships”.

In January, a pride event due to take place in Salekhard, in the Arctic Circle, was banned because of the law.

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