Target: Presidium of Kostroma Regional Court
Goal: Commend judges of Russian court for declaring that last year’s ban on two LGBT rights protests was illegal
Last year two planned LGBT protests were banned in the city of Kostroma in western Russia. The protests were intended to directly criticize Russia’s controversial 2013 anti-“gay propaganda” law, which effectively criminalized LGBT demonstrations to prevent the spread of “non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors. The law has greatly stifled public demonstrations by the Russian LGBT community for both pride and protest purposes. The national anti-“propaganda” law, and related regional legislation across the country, has resulted in LGBT Russians facing increased persecution, harassment, and arrests for participating in peaceful protest events.
Local officials in Kostroma used the very same law that protesters intended to demonstrate against to ban two demonstrations in the city. The bans, issued in June of 2013, were upheld by lower courts on appeals. The highest regional court in the area, the Presidium of Kostroma Regional Court, recently overturned the bans and judges ruled that the protests should have been allowed to continue, as the bans infringed on the rights of demonstrators to freedom of expression and protection from discrimination. The six judges responsible for the ruling heard from an LGBT activist, as well as representatives of the city government responsible for banning the events.
This landmark decision represents a major victory for the Russian LGBT community, as Kostroma is the first Russian city to overturn a ban on LGBT events under the draconian anti-“propaganda” law. An unjust law used to prevent protest cannot coexist with liberty and freedom of expression. This ruling is a crucial first step in eliminating a punitive and repressive law, and securing better legal treatment for Russia’s LGBT citizens.
Local resistance to the anti-“propaganda” law is an important first step to guaranteeing the civil rights of LGBT people in Russia. Congratulate the judges of the Presidium of Kostroma Regional Court for taking a brave stance against bigotry masquerading as law.
Honored Judges of the Presidium of Kostroma Regional Court,
Thank you for your recent ruling overturning last year’s ban on two peaceful LGBT demonstrations in the city of Kostroma. Your decision represents a steadfast commitment to civil rights and human decency. The international community supports your heroic decision in the face of staunch governmental resistance. Your bravery in tackling this controversial issue has not gone unnoticed.
I personally extend my support for this ruling, which offers the promise that all of Russia’s citizens will be able to advocate for fair laws and equal treatment in the future.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons