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Citing the Russian laws against homosexual propaganda, and rules governing NGOs that receive foreign funding, a St. Petersburg court has ruled that the Russian LGBT advocacy group called Vykhod (Coming Out) must register itself as a “foreign agent.”

The group is a member of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) located in Geneva, Switzerland, and is linked with the LGBT Network based in Scotland.

According to Vykhod's Facebook page, Judge Naidyonova of the Vasileostrovsky District Court of St. Petersburg ruled the group is a foreign agent because it is “engaged in political activities on behalf of foreign countries,” and is in violation of the laws against homosexual propaganda because its activities and publications discriminate against “persons with traditional sexual orientation.”

Legislation passed in November 2013 states that a Russian NGO that receives any funding from abroad and is involved in political activities is to register as a “foreign agent.”

Under the law a notice must accompany every public statement by such NGOs that their publication or speaker represents “an organization fulfilling the functions of a foreign agent.”

Foreign-funded NGOs must also make biannual reports on their activity publicly available.

The Russian parliament approved the law banning homosexual propagandizing by foreign or domestic activists, by a vote of 436 to 0, in June 2013.

The law imposes stiff fines or prison terms for spreading “propaganda aimed at forming non-traditional sexual behavior among children, suggesting this behavior is attractive, and making a false statement about the socially equal nature of traditional and non-traditional relationships.”

It also effectively outlaws “gay pride” festivals and stops attempts by foreign homosexualist activist groups to normalize their lifestyles or campaign for same-sex legal recognition in Russia.

Russian Prime Minster Vladimir Putin signed the bill into law in July, 2013.

In anticipation of criticism, Putin warned Western countries to mind their own business. Speaking at a press conference in Finland, he said, “Some countries…think that there is no need to protect children from this. We do.”

Vykhod's Facebook page says the group will appeal the St. Petersburg court ruling.

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