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Russian gays lose case against Moscow mayor

A Russian court on Friday threw out a lawsuit by two gay rights activists against Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov for publicly branding Gay Pride parades a "satanic act".
/ Source: Reuters

A Russian court on Friday threw out a lawsuit by two gay rights activists against Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov for publicly branding Gay Pride parades a "satanic act."

"The court has not found reasons to rule in favor of the suit," a spokesman for Moscow's Tverskoi district court said.

Luzhkov, who has run Moscow since 1992, has vowed to stop any attempt by homosexuals to march through Russia's capital this year.

The two gay rights activists, who organize such parades, filed a suit against Luzhkov in February demanding he retract his remark and pay them a symbolic 1,000 rubles ($39) each for moral damage.

"It was a joke of a process with violations of all the legal procedures of a civil case," one of the complainants, Nikolai Alexeyev, told Reuters after the court ruling.

He said the judge had not examined their arguments, made no comment on the tone of Luzhkov's remark and was overly casual.

"I have never seen anything like this in my life: the judge came out of her room and announced the decision not from the judge's seat but from the doorway.

"All she lacked was a muffin and a cup of tea."

Alexeyev quoted Luzhkov's spokeswoman in court as saying the mayor had violated no laws but simply exercised his right to free speech.

Last year Moscow authorities banned gay activists from holding a parade. When the march went ahead despite the ban, the activists were detained by police, abused by militant Christians and attacked by neo-Nazis.

In January Alexeyev, who was one of the parade's organizers, filed a suit at the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights against Russia for banning the march, demanding 20$26,340 compensation.

Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993. Tolerance is slowly rising, with a handful of gay clubs opening in large cities since the Soviet Union collapsed. But the country has no high-profile homosexual politicians or business leaders.

Alexeyev said he would appeal against Friday's ruling.