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Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for December, 2008

Moscow Mayor Promises Further LGBT Suppression

Jim Burroway

December 4th, 2008

While speaking at an AIDS conference (no less!), Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said that the city would continue to ban gay rights marches and other “propaganda”:

“So-called democrats consider that sexual minorities can be the main indicator and main symbol of democracy, but we will in future continue to ban propaganda of the views of sexual minorities. Of course, we will be criticised by all democrats in the world but in each society there are own views on that.”

The mayor reportedly blamed gays for the spread of AIDS in Russia, and said that condoms should not be a part of an HIV-prevention program because, he said, “contemporary science” claims that they are not 100% safe. Mayor Luzhkov has previously referred to gays as “satanic.”

For the past several years, local gay rights organizations have been denied permits to hold Pride marches in Moscow. Two years ago, an attempted Pride parade was broken up by police and local thugs. Last year, Pride organizers were able to outsmart Moscow police and hold two visible and public events before authorities were able to shut them down. This occurred despite Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s order that local authorities authorize the march.

Next year, Moscow Pride organisers plan to take advantage of increased visibility surrounding the next May’s Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow to hold a coinciding Pride celebration.

Russian President Intervenes on Moscow Pride

Jim Burroway

May 30th, 2008

It has been learned that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the Prefecture of the Central Administrative area of Moscow to authorize a Gay Pride demonstration. This came after Moscow Pride organizers had applied for permission to hold five marches every day in May. All of the applications have been denied by Moscow municipal authorities however, claiming that the marches would “endanger public order and cause negative reaction of the majority of the population.”

Local organizers say they have not received confirmation from Moscow City officials of permission to hold the event. They plan on conducting a small demonstration this Sunday in front of Moscow City Hall.

Moscow had banned Pride events in 2006 and 2007. Last year’s Pride demonstration ended in violence. Moscow mayor Mayor Yuri Luzhkov has branded gay Pride parades as “satanic” and vowed that they would never be permitted in the capital.

Moscow’s Banned Pride Day Becomes Pride Month

Jim Burroway

April 25th, 2008

Russian gay rights advocate Nikolai Alexeyev’s bid for a gay pride parade during the May Day holidays was rejected by Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov. Segei Tsoi, the mayor’s spokesman, warned that if they went ahead with the march, there “could be blood, which no one wants. He also accused Alexeyev of trying to “spoil” a traditional labor holiday, a charge which Alexeyev adamantly rejected:

“As if gays don’t support peace and don’t work,” said an incredulous Alexeyev. “Don’t we pay the taxes that support this government? I don’t understand this at all.”

In response, Alexeyev has announced that he will submit notifications for five marches per day for each day in May on different streets around Moscow’s city center. Anticipating that none of these marches will be permitted to take place, Alexeyev says it will demonstrate to the Council of Europe that “homosexuals are not allowed to freely express their opinions in Moscow — in any day in any form, in any street and in any time.” Russia is a member of the Council of Europe and a signatory to the European Convention of Human Rights, which obligates Russia to observe the rights to peaceful assembly and demonstrations. A complaint has been filed in the European Court in Strasbourg.

Mayor Luzhkov has branded gay pride parades as “satanic” and vowed that they would never be permitted in the capital.

Nikolai Alexeyev’s arrestLast year’s Moscow Pride gathering was broken up by violent thugs, Russian Orthodox clergy and police. None of the anti-gay assailants who instigated the violence were arrested. Instead, police hauled off Alexeyev, British gay rights advocate Peter Tatchell, Right Said Fred singer Richard Fairbrass, Italian Member of European Parliament Marco Cappato, German Member of Parliament Volker Beck, and 27 others.

Homosexuality was legalized in Russia in 1993, but discrimination against gays and lesbians remains widespread.