By Gudrun Schultz

MOSCOW, Russia, May 19, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov has refused to grant a permit for a gay pride parade in Russia’s capital.

Luzhkov came under heavy criticism by an official at the Council of Europe, among others, for his decision earlier in the year to ban the parade planned for May. Organizers of the demonstration went ahead and applied for a permit earlier this week, but their application was denied.

The president of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities at the Council of Europe, Giovanni di Stasi, wrote a letter to Mayor Luzhkov in March, charging that the ban violated the Council’s Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Russian Orthodox and Jewish leaders expressed their support in March for Mayor Luzhkov’s decision, saying the promotion of homosexuality went against the teaching of their faiths.

The Congress of the Jewish Religious Organizations and Associations in Russia issued a statement in support of Mayor Luzhkov’s decision in March, saying, “Such parade is not a demonstration but propagation of a sin. We are in solidarity with the Russian Orthodox Church, not only for the present, but also for the future of our country.”

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexis II sent a letter to Mayor Luzhkov, made public in March, congratulating him for his opposition to the ‘gay pride’ parade.

“Please accept our gratitude for your decision to protect Moscow and Muscovites against attempts to organize a public parade of propaganda for sin,” he said in the letter.

“The Church treats people with such [homosexual] inclinations with pastoral responsibility, urging them to reform and resolutely opposes any attempts to present this sinful tendency as a ‘norm’ and example to follow. The Church does not accept any propaganda for immorality.”

See previous LifeSiteNews coverage:
  Russian Jewish Leaders Join Orthodox in Supporting Moscow Mayor’s Ban on Gay Pride
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/mar/06032705.html
  Moscow Gay Pride Ban Rebuked by Council of Europe
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/mar/06033003.html