In a major blow to Russia’s LGBT community, the country’s Constitutional Court has upheld a local law in the city of St Petersburg banning so called “gay propaganda”.
It said that the law was indeed constitutional and confirmed the fine imposed on LGBT activist Nikolai Alexeyev, reported RIA Novosti.
Alexeyev was found guilty of contravening the law back in May 2012.
He held up a sign that quoted Soviet-era actress Faina Ranevskaya, who said: “Homosexuality is not a perversion, unlike grass hockey or ice ballet.”
Alexeyev took the matter to the Constitutional Court but has now failed in his bid to have the fine or law overturned.
The court said that the state had a duty to “take measures to protect children from information, propaganda and campaigns that can harm their health and moral and spiritual development”.
The court also dismissed Alexeyev’s claim that the law was discriminatory because, it said, the law applied to both and gay and heterosexual people.
The St Petersburg law was enacted before the similar and internationally condemned federal gay propaganda bill was signed into law in June this year.
Earlier this week, Alexeyev and fellow activist Yarosvlav Yevtushenko were each fined 4,000 rubles (R1,200) by another court in the city of Arkhangelsk for contravening the federal version of the law.
The two held up banners outside a library proclaiming: “Gay propaganda doesn’t exist. People don’t become gay, people are born gay”.
Alexeyev said that he plans to appeal the conviction.
“These are the first court decisions in Russia’s history to prosecute for propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships under the new federal law,” he told the GayRussia website.
The city of Arkhangelsk also announced on Wednesday that it had banned ten proposed LGBT equality events, citing the gay propaganda law.