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MOSCOW (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Supreme Court of Russia is outlawing pro-gay activism in the country. The court on Thursday approved a request by the Justice Ministry to declare "the international LGBT social movement" as "extremist."
The Justice Ministry said in its Nov. 17 appeal that the LGBT movement shows "various signs and manifestations of extremist orientation, including the incitement of social and religious discord."
Axios reported, "While it remains unclear how the ruling will be enforced, participating in 'extremist organizations' is a punishable criminal offense in Russia."
Human Rights Watch commented, "Human rights defenders fear that the ruling will allow the authorities to arbitrarily prosecute anyone for any activities related to LGBT rights."
Sergei Troshin, a homosexual municipal deputy in St. Petersburg, told BBC, "This is real repression. There is panic in Russia's LGBT community. People are emigrating urgently. The actual word we're using is evacuation. We're having to evacuate from our own country. It's terrible."
Russian politician Vitaly Milonov declared, "I'm looking forward to the next step: banning the six-colour rainbow flag. We don't need this flag. It's a symbol of the fight with the traditional family. I hope that no one can show this flag in Russia."
The Associated Press noted, "Thursday's closed-door hearing lasted four hours. No one besides Justice Ministry representatives were allowed in, and there was no defendant. Journalists were taken into the courtroom only for the reading of the verdict by Judge Oleg Nefedov."
"In 2013, the Kremlin adopted the first legislation restricting LGBTQ+ rights, known as the 'gay propaganda' law, banning any public endorsement of 'nontraditional sexual relations' among minors," AP continued. "In 2020, constitutional reforms pushed through by Putin to extend his rule by two more terms also included a provision to outlaw same-sex marriage."
In 2022, Putin extended the earlier propaganda law to include adults as well, basically prohibiting any public support for pro-gay rights. In 2023, Russia outlawed sex mutilation surgery and so-called gender-affirming care.
According to Reuters, "More than 100 groups are already banned in Russia as 'extremist.' Previous listings, for example, of the Jehovah's Witnesses religious movement and organizations linked to opposition politician Alexei Navalny, have served as a prelude to arrests."