(LibertySociety.com) – A Russian Supreme Court ruling on November 30 sparked fury among human rights activists who claim that the rights of LBGTQ people were violated. The high court banned collective activism in the country and labeled the LBGTQ movement as a form of extremism. Following the ruling, multiple gay clubs and bars were raided by Russian police in Moscow. Media outlets in the city reported that the raids were conducted to search for drugs, but the only locations subject to the searches were LGBT associated. Gay nightclubs and a bar that hosted LGBT events were targeted, as well as an all-male sauna.
Authorities conducting the searches took pictures of patrons’ documentation, likely to be used for future crackdowns or individual targeting. Managers were somehow tipped off before the searches were conducted, allowing some to leave before authorities arrived. Some gay clubs, like Central Station in St Petersburg, immediately shuttered after the ruling. The bar’s social media pages announced on December 1 that the owner refused to continue operations with the new law in place. The Justice Ministry initially filed the lawsuit in early November, claiming in a statement that the LGBT activist groups were participating in activities that incited “social and religious discord.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said on multiple occasions that LGBT people are protected just as any other Russian citizen. A 2013 law banned the promotion of any type of “nontraditional” relations to minors. In 2020, marriage between individuals of the same gender was banned through constitutional reforms imposed by Putin when he declared himself president for two additional terms.
Shortly after the war in Ukraine began, another law was passed that made it illegal to promote nontraditional relationships between adults. The Kremlin has defended the laws, claiming that the Western world was attempting to influence Russian relations. Russia also banned physicians from performing any type of gender-changing procedures in the country this year. Citizens are not allowed to change documentation that identifies an individual’s gender.
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