Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Russian Constitutional Court Upholds Ban on Promoting Homosexuality To Minors, Interpreting It Narrowly

Interfax reported last week that Russia's Constitutional Court has upheld the constitutionality of Article 6.21 of the Russian Code of Administrative Violations that bans promoting homosexuality among minors, but said it must be interpreted narrowly.  The Sept. 23 decision (full text in Russian), which was issued without a public hearing, came in a suit filed by gay rights activists who had been fined under the law. According to Interfax:
the Constitutional Court decided that the legislator's purpose was to establish a balance between personal autonomy and the public interest with regard for the traditional ideas of marriage, family and motherhood in Russian society, in which many religious people are represented.
Constitutional Court Judge Nikolay Bondar commented on the decision, saying:
The Russian Constitutional Court has found that the contested provision does not contradict the Constitution. It also gave a constitutional law interpretation, which shows all law enforcers that a broad interpretation of the ban is unacceptable and it is compulsory for everyone, including courts.... 
Secondly, the court ruled that this provision is not aimed at banning or officially condemning non-traditional sexual relations. Thirdly, this article does not prevent impartial public debate of the legal status of sexual minorities, including by holding public events according to the procedures established by law. However, minors should not be involved in the relevant events, no matter whether it's rallies or debates, and the disseminated information should not be targeted at them.
(See prior related posting.)