The Guardian reports:
A Russian law that bans gay “propaganda” encourages homophobia and discrimination, the European court of human rights has ruled, in a sharply worded rebuke to the Kremlin. Three Russian gay rights activists brought the case against the 2013 federal statute, widely known as the “gay propaganda” law, after they were arrested between 2009-12 for protesting against local anti-gay laws, which became the model for the later national law.
“By adopting such laws the [Russian] authorities reinforce stigma and encourage homophobia, which is incompatible with the notions of equality, pluralism and tolerance inherent in a democratic society,” the Strasbourg-based ECHR said in a comprehensive demolition of the arguments advanced by Russian lawyers.
The court ruled such measures were “likely to be counterproductive in achieving the declared legitimate aims of protection of health and the protection of the rights of others,” while saying the vague wording opened the door to abuse.
It concluded that Russia had violated the European convention on human rights on freedom of expression (article 10) and prohibition of discrimination (article 14). The state has been ordered to pay damages totalling €43,000 (£37,800) plus costs and interest within three months.
Of the seven judges on the panel, only the Russian judge dissented. A spokesman for Putin says the Kremlin will “study” the ruling.