On Thursday, Russia’s Supreme Court declared the “international LGBT public movement” to be an extremist organization. The verdict also applies to the movement’s subsidiaries, the court stated without mentioning specific entities.
The Russian Justice Ministry filed the complaint earlier this month, claiming that “the LGBT movement’s” activities qualified it as a “extremist group.” According to the ministry, it has been promoting “social and religious discord” in the country.
The proceedings took place behind closed doors and lasted more than four hours because the case involved more than 20 tomes of material, according to RT, citing the Supreme Court’s press service. During the hearings, no members of the “international LGBT movement” were present, with only an attorney from the Justice Ministry in attendance.
Russia has increasingly strengthened its legislation in recent years to combat the spread of so-called “LGBT ideology.” The country outlawed the dissemination of such material among kids in 2013, and extended the policy to adults in December of last year.
Anyone found guilty of advocating “non-traditional sexual relations,” transgenderism, or pedophilia faces severe penalties.
However, it is still unclear whose pro-LGBT groups the latest verdict would effect in Russia. The ‘Russian LGBT network,’ created in the mid-2000s to bring together regional organizations working for the rights of sexual minorities, is the country’s largest such association.
The network, which was recognized as a “foreign agent” two years ago, is part of LIGA, a significant Swiss-based NGO that has pushed for LGBT rights since the late 1970s.
Russian Orthodox Church applauds LGBT ban
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Orthodox Church stated on Thursday that the church backed the Russian Supreme Court’s ruling, claiming that labeling LGBT advocacy as extreme is a sort of “moral self-defense” for society.
“We know from the testimony of many Western Christians who adhere to traditional beliefs about marriage and family that the activities of LGBT movements are aimed at displacing the Christian idea of marriage and family from the public and legal sphere,” said Vakhtang Kipshidze, head of public relations for the Russian Orthodox Church’s Moscow Patriarchate.
Kipshidze, referring to LGBT activism in the West, stated that the “logical endpoint of its activities is the destruction of the traditional idea of marriage and family,” making it extreme by definition.
Given that marriage as the union of a man and a woman is a historically Christian idea in Europe, undermining it is an attack on Christianity itself, Kipshidze told RT
“This leads to infringing on the rights of believers in countries where the LGBT movement is free to act,” the church official stated. “In many Western countries, LGBT cohabitation has been made legally equal to marriage.”
A spokesman for the Moscow Patriarchate cited incidents in the West in which LGBT groups sued clergy who classified same-sex partnerships as wicked, effectively making reciting the Bible a felony.
“I believe that if such a movement is allowed to flourish in Russia, it will pursue the same goals as in the West.” This is unacceptable to us,” added Kipshidze.
Russia banned the promotion of “non-traditional sexual relations,” transgenderism, and pedophilia to kids in 2013, and expanded the ban to adults last December.