March 22, 2013 | by Michael K. Lavers
Russian court overturns regional gay pride ban
Russia, Moscow, Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral, gay news, Washington Blade

St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow’s Red Square (Photo by Dmitry Azovtsev via Wikimedia Commons)

A court in the Russian region of Kostroma on Wednesday overturned a ban on gay pride marches and gatherings.

Gay Star News reported the Civil Chamber of the Kostroma Regional Court issued its decision after Nikolai Alekseev, founder of Moscow Pride, appealed a lower court’s decision that banned several gay-specific events that had been scheduled to take place last March.

Kostroma lawmakers in Feb. 2012 approved a prohibition on so-called “propaganda of homosexuality,” but the website reported the court concluded rallies and marches did not fall under the ban.

St. Petersburg along with eight other regions have adopted similar laws, while the Russian Duma in January approved a measure that would prohibit the “promotion of homosexuality” to children across the country.

“This is important,” Alekseev told Gay Star News after the Kostroma court issued its ruling.

Madonna and Lady Gaga are among those who have spoken out against the St. Petersburg law. The U.S. State Department, Amnesty International and other groups have criticized the proposed countrywide ban on so-called gay propaganda to children.

More than 60 members of Congress earlier this month also urged lawmakers in the neighboring Ukraine to reject two bills that would ban the distribution of gay-specific information and materials in public gatherings and the media.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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