Mayor Yuri Luzhkov (Pic: Andrey Surikov)

Russian gay rights activists are planning to take Moscow’s anti-gay mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, to court for homophobic statements he made during a recent TV interview.

On Tuesday, Luzhkov – who has repeatedly banned gay pride parades in the city – said on the TV Center channel that there are two reasons why gay parades will never be held in Moscow.

“First, this is society’s moral. Our society has a healthy moral and rejects all these queers,” Luzhkov said. Secondly, “If you even imagine that they get permission to hold their parade and gather, they will simply get killed.

We have radical Christians who have hard feelings against these demonic manifestations, as they see it. By the way, when there were attempts to hold a gay parade during the recent Eurovision Song Contest, we had to isolate 19 radicals who were going to beat up these queers,” Luzhkov said.

Prominent Russian gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev has said that his lawyers would present a case to a Moscow court and later hopes to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

However he knows that his chances are slim, admitting that this trial is mainly to raise awareness.

“Luzhkov has done more than anyone to publicise gay rights in Russia. By stopping the gay parade he has provoked massive media coverage of our fight against homophobia. The Russian media has been full of reports about gay issues for the last week. This has hugely increased public awareness and understanding of gay people.

“Slowly, we are eroding homophobic attitudes. We have a very long way to go, but gradually we are winning hearts and minds, especially among younger Russians,” Alexeyev said.

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