Court bans LGBTQI+ activism
Russia’s Supreme Court yesterday effectively outlawed LGBTQI+ activism, the most drastic step yet against advocates of gay, lesbian and transgender rights in the increasingly conservative country. Ruling in response to a lawsuit filed by the Justice Ministry, the court labelled what the suit called the LGBTQI+ “movement” operating in Russia as an extremist organisation, and banned it. The ruling is the latest step in a decadelong crackdown on LGBTQI+ rights in Russia under President Vladimir Putin, who has emphasised “traditional family values” during his 24 years in power. Rights activists noted that the lawsuit was lodged against a movement that is not an official entity, and that under its broad and vague definition, Russian authorities could crack down on any individuals or groups deemed to be part of it. Amnesty International called the ruling “shameful and absurd”. A Russian Orthodox Church spokesman praised the ruling, telling the state-run RIA Novosti news agency that it was “a form of moral self-defence by society” from efforts to push "the Christian idea of marriage and family from the public and legal realms”. Before the ruling, leading Russian human rights groups filed a document with the court that called the lawsuit “antilawful”, discriminatory, and a violation of the constitution and international human rights treaties that Moscow has signed. Some LGBTQI+ activists said they tried to become a party to the lawsuit but were rebuffed by the court. In 2013, the Kremlin adopted the first legislation restricting LGBTQI+ rights. Since sending troops into Ukraine in 2022, the Kremlin has ramped up a campaign against what it has called the West’s “degrading” influence.