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Russian high court upholds St Petersburg’s ‘gay propaganda’ law

In separate case, activists found guilty of promoting 'nontraditional sexual relationships'

Activists Nikolai Alexeyev and Yaroslav Yevtushenko were fined for staging an unauthorized rally outside a children's library in Arkhanglesk. Credit:

Gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev has lost two court cases in Russia, the first a ruling from the country's highest court that found St Petersburg's 'gay propaganda' law constitutional, the other a guilty verdict handed down by a Murmansk court in connection with a protest outside a children's library, a RIA Novosti report says.

The ruling by the Constitutional Court, made in October but released Dec 3, dismissed Alexeyev's complaint that St Petersburg's city council breached Russia's constitution by passing a law that prohibits the promotion of so-called gay propaganda among minors.

In May 2012, a St Petersburg court fined Alexeyev for holding a banner that read in part, "Homosexuality is not a perversion," the report notes. The Constitutional Court rejected the activist's contention that the law discriminated against gays, ruling that his banner "heightened attention to sexual relationship issues that can deform a child's perception of the role and value of such relationships in life," The Moscow Times reports.

Meanwhile, a Murmansk court fined Alexeyev and another activist, Yaroslav Yevtushenko, for staging a protest Dec 2 outside a children's library in Arkhangelsk with signs that said, "Gay propaganda does not exist. People do not become gay, people are born gay," The Times notes. According to the report, the activists had requested permission to hold the protest but were turned down, reportedly on the grounds that they would be flouting the federal "gay propaganda" law. When they went ahead with the protest, police arrested the pair. 

Alexeyev indicated that they plan to appeal the verdict.