By Hilary White
MOSCOW, February 20, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Homosexual activists have taken the authorities of the city of Moscow to the European Court of Human Rights for their refusal to allow the so-called “Gay Pride” parades that have become an annual feature of urban life in most western countries.
“I am absolutely certain of our final victory in Strasburg,” organiser Nicolas Alexeyev told Interfax.
The first attempt to hold the homosexual march in 2006 was met with flat refusal by authorities. Mayor Luzhkov, a chairman and one of the founders of the ruling United Russia party, said that homosexuality was not natural and that such a march would cause “outrage” among the public, especially religious leaders. Gay activists threatened at the time to take their complaints to the European Court of Human Rights.
Moscow’s authorities cited Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, that states the right to freedom of assembly can be limited in the interests of public order to avoid disturbances.
Despite the ban from Moscow’s mayor Yury Luzhkov, and violence at a march in 2006, homosexuals marched again in May 2007. Again counter protesters and gays clashed and police arrested as many as 70 protesters on both sides. Mayor Luzhkov called the attempt to bring the international homosexual activist agenda into Russia “satanic”.
Support for the homosexual political agenda is low in Russia, with support for same-sex “marriage” or civil unions at 14 per cent. Protesters have demonstrated at Moscow’s homosexual clubs. A 2005 opinion poll showed that 43 per cent of Russians believed homosexual men should be incarcerated.
Counter protesters at the 2007 march, identified by the BBC as “Orthodox extremists and nationalists”, carried signs saying, “Moscow is not Sodom” and “No to pederasty”. The Mayor’s ban was supported by Christian and Muslim leaders.
The Russian Federation currently has no specific legislation regarding “discrimination,”
as do many countries of the west. Homosexual acts between consenting males were decriminalized in 1993 and homosexuality was removed from the list of mental disorders in Russia in 1999.
In response to the plans for the march in 2006, Grand Mufti Talgat Tadzhuddin was quoted as saying, “If they come out on to the streets anyway they should be flogged. Any normal person would do that – Muslims and Orthodox Christians alike.”
Russian Orthodox Bishop Daniil of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk called the homosexual political movement “the propaganda of sin” and condemned the planned march as a “cynical mockery”.
One of Russia’s Chief Rabbis, Berl Lazar, said the march “would be a blow for morality”.
At a press conference on February 1, 2007, Russian President, Vladimir Putin responded to a question about the homosexual movement, saying, “My approach toward gay parades and sexual minorities is very simple. It is directly linked to my responsibilities. One of the key problems of our country is the demographic problem.”
Putin’s concerns are well founded. Not only is Russia’s birth rate plummeting, with the abortion rate being the highest in the world, the Russian life expectancy of 65.87 years at birth is 13 years shorter than the overall figure in the European Union. The Russian birth rate stands at 1.39 children born per woman.
Heart diseases account for 56.7 per cent of total deaths. About 16 million Russians suffer from cardiovascular diseases, placing Russia second in the world after Ukraine. Death rates from homicide, suicide and cancer are also especially high. HIV/AIDS, virtually non-existent in the Soviet era, rapidly spread following the collapse of the Soviet Union, mainly through the explosive growth of intravenous drug use. An estimated 860,000 people suffer from HIV/AIDS.
Mortality among Russian men rose by 60 per cent since the collapse of communism, four to five times higher than in Europe. The low life expectancy is due mainly to social factors that point to a massive decay of Russian civil and social life. Alcoholism, drug use and violent crime are responsible for a disproportionate number of deaths among young men.