Moscow Gay Activists Sentenced for ‘Popularizing Homosexuality’

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Nothing changes under the Kremlin. Just a month away from Moscow’s hosting of Eurovision Song Contest (where contestants are being urged to speak out on GLBT issues), gay pride organizers Nikolay Bayev and Irina Fet were found guilty of “popularizing homosexuality among minors and the court ruled to fine them 1,500 rubles [about USD$50] each,” reports Interfax. Last month they organized a public demonstration with posters reading “Homosexuality is normal” and “I am proud of my homosexuality”; a judge ordered the posters destroyed, issuing his decision from a court in Ryazan, identified as the only region in Russia where a law that bans discussing homosexuality with minors is enforced. And this is just the lead up to Moscow’s gay pride march on May 16, which will not proceed if Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov has his way. Luzhkov has, year-after-year, refused to grant a marching license to organizers — except Moscow Pride already has “seven cases already pending before the European Court of Human Rights,” notes MosNews. “The latest was filed against President Dmitry Medvedev. The others involve Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov.” Of course, we’ve been down a similar road before.