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Russia repealed its six-year ban on gay blood donors after a tumultuous battle between gay activist groups and the Russian Minister of Health and Social Development. Tatyana Golikova, the minister of the department, signed the decree on April 16, but members of the media were not informed until Thursday night, according to the U.K. Gay News.
Activists have been campaigning against the ban since April 2006, when they sent a letter to the ministry of health and social development asking for a repeal of the ban because it was unconstitutional. In September 2007, activists attempted to picket the ministry's office in Moscow, but the Prefecture of the Central Administrative Area of Moscow banned the demonstration for security reasons, according to the article.
In 1993 consensual gay sex was legalized, and Russia's authority on psychology decided in 1999 that homosexuality was not a classified as a mental illness.
"Russian legislation finally got rid of the last direct discriminatory provision against homosexual people," Russian LGBT activist Nikolai Alekseev told reporters in Brazil. "Now we are going to ask for positive actions of the authorities in order to directly ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in Russia law as well as criminal prosecution for hate speeches and aggressive homophobia." (The Advocate)
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