On Sunday, LGBT activists trying to demonstrate for the right to hold a gay Pride parade in Moscow were blocked by police, who detained dozens.

Protestors gathered near the city council offices were forced to disburse by authorities after “scuffling” with Christian counter-protestors, reports The Washington Post. A second demonstration at City Hall was also shut down, with gay-rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev and others taken in by police. It’s believed 40 people were arrested in all, including a few counter-protestors.

Activists have long petitioned the Moscow government for permission to stage such a parade, but have always been denied. Former Mayor Yuri Luzhkov described gay parades as “satanic,” while current Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has said he disapproves of gay gatherings because they could offend the religious beliefs of many Russians.

Gay activist Galina Kaptur criticized city authorities for treating homosexuality as a contagious disease that would be spread through society if gays were allowed to hold a parade.

“It’s as if they thought that if all left-handed people held a parade, then afterward everyone would become left-handed,” Kaptur said. “This is wrong.”

Legislators are trying to extend St. Petersburg’s “gay propaganda” ban nationwide, which would pretty much make Pride celebrations anywhere in Russia illegal.

Some people are thrilled at that prospect: “I will not allow perverts to bring the wrath of God onto our city,” said homophobic Muscovite Dmitry Tsarionov. “I want our children to live in a country where a sin that so awfully distorts human nature is not preached in schools.”

We feel the same way about the sin of hatred, Dmitry.

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