The Russian government has blocked access within the nation to a popular gay website, saying it violates the law against "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" in venues accessible to minors.
Roskomnadzor, the Russian body that regulates media, served notice last week that Gay.ru had violated the law, citing a court ruling in Siberia, The Moscow Times reports. It gave the site 24 hours to remove "information prohibited for distribution in the Russian Federation," not specifying what that information was, and said that if site administrators did not comply, it would be blocked.
Roskomnadzor today ordered internet service providers to block access to the site within Russia, according to a post on Gay.ru. It is still accessible from other countries.
Gay.ru administrators said in the post that they will appeal the court ruling that led to the action and will challenge the blocking of the site in international courts if necessary.
The ruling came from Judge Olga Kvasova of the Altai District Court in the village of Belyi Yar, Republic of Khakassia, which is part of Siberia. It came in a suit brought by the Altai District Prosecutor's Office and a branch office of Roskomnadzor, the Russian LGBT Network reports, in a post translated by a site called The Russian Reader.
"As is customary in cases concocted by the authorities, it is impossible to comprehend what exactly the court deemed promotion of homosexuality," the LGBT Network notes.
Gay.ru has been in operation for 20 years, covering LGBT news in Russia and from around the world. In 2013, when the so-called gay propaganda law was passed, the government notified the site it was not in violation.