11-30-2023, 4:58 PM

In a historic decision, the Supreme Court of Russia effectively prohibits LGBTQ+ activity

On Thursday, Russia's Supreme Court banned LGBTQ+ activity, the most severe move against LGBTQ+ rights in the increasingly conservative nation.

In response to a Justice Ministry lawsuit, the court banned the LGBTQ+ “movement” in Russia as an extremist group.

The verdict follows a decade-long attack on LGBTQ+ rights in Russia under President Vladimir Putin, who has promoted “traditional family values” for 24 years.

Four hours were spent in closed-door session Thursday. Only Justice Ministry representatives were allowed in, and there was no defendant. Press were only allowed in the courtroom to hear Judge Oleg Nefedov read the verdict, who donned a mask for health concerns.

The case was classified, and the ministry merely said investigators had found “signs and manifestations of an extremist nature” in the movement it seeks to outlaw, including “incitement of social and religious discord.”

Multiple rights campaigners have emphasized that the case was filed against a non-official movement, and that Russian authorities might crack down on its members under its broad and imprecise description.

RIA Novosti reported that a Russian Orthodox Church official called the verdict “a form of moral self-defense by society” against efforts to remove “the Christian idea of marriage and family from the public and legal realms.”

Another law approved last year banned transgender transitioning and gender-affirming care. It barred “medical interventions aimed at changing the sex of a person,” as well as gender changes in official documents and public records. It also altered Russia's Family Code to allow the annulment of a marriage for gender transformation and bar “who had changed gender” from becoming foster or adoptive parents.

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