By Brett Edward Stout
Originally published on Advocate.com June 08 2012 2:33 PM ET
As antigay sentiment heats up in Russia, Moscow City Court upheld a new law that bans any gay pride celebrations in the city until the year 2112.
The Moscow municipal government had decided to issue a blanket refusal of any request to hold a gay pride demonstration for the next 100 years. But the decision was immediately challenged by LGBT rights leader Nikolay Alekseyev, and this week’s ruling was the final in a series of appeals by Alekseyev. He had simultaneously helped organize a letter-writing campaign in an attempt to stop the law.
Andre Banks of the LGBT rights organization AllOut aimed higher up than the municipal government in assigning blame.
"Remarkably, President Putin has stayed silent as members of his party advance a provocative antigay agenda that is putting him on a collision course with his allies in Europe and around the world,” Banks said in a statement. “Denying 100 years of Pride is no way to make friends in 2012.”
Banks went on to speak to the overall meaning of gay pride celebrations and their roots in the United States. “This ruling reminds us that Pride is every bit as meaningful today as it was after Stonewall in 1969 — millions around the world are still fighting for the basic right to live openly and love who they choose,” he said. “Much like that memorable summer, this fight will continue and it will be successful. With serious pressure mounting from Russians — gay and straight — along with other world leaders, Putin will soon have to choose whether or not to be on the right side of history."
The next step is to bring the issue to the European Court of Human Rights, of which Russia recently became a member.
The Russian government has painted its antigay efforts as simply protecting “the majority’s rights.” Russia’s official representative at the United Nations said the government felt that “no international commitments are breached.” He added, “It is not appropriate to give rise to appreciation of special groups such as LGBT.”
The most powerful voice to soon speak may be an unlikely one. Madonna has stated that she intends to “speak up for the gay community, to support the gay community, and to give strength and inspiration to anyone who is or feels oppressed” at her concerts in St. Petersburg and Moscow this August.
Watch video below of a clash in Moscow in 2011 during an unauthorized Pride parade.