Conservative religious advocacy groups argue the law against “homosexual propaganda” promotes the rights of the traditional family.
U.S. religious conservative groups are creating an unlikely alliance with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, publicly declaring support for Russia’s ban on “gay propaganda,” which outlaws promotion of same-sex relationships.
The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, along with the World Congress of Families, the Population Research Institute, the His Servants ministry, Mission:America and Grasstops USA have all signed a declaration of support for the Russian law.
The U.S. conservative groups argue that Russia’s law protects “natural” families and values and the “innocence of children.” The Russian law, passed in August, states that “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations around minors” is prohibited, meaning any pro-LGBTQ rights messages are restricted if they’re able to be viewed by minors.
The declaration of support signed by the U.S. groups references Article 16, Section 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,, a United Nations document adopted in 1948, stating, “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.” It follows Article 16, Section 1, which states, “Men and women of full age, without any limitation to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.”
The declaration of support states that Russia “is protecting genuine and universally recognized human rights against artificial and fabricated ‘values’ aggressively imposed in many modern societies.”
Russians who oppose the law point not only to the attack on the LGBTQ community it represents but also to the perpetuation of societal discrimination and harassment it promotes.
Maria Kozlovskaya, a Russian lawyer for LGBT Network, told the BBC the new law is fueling anti-gay sentiment in the nation, leading to attacks on those of homosexual orientation. Kozlovskaya said she’s noticed a difference in her country over the last few years — holding hands with her own same-sex partner used to not be a problem. Now, she worries it will lead to a violent attack.
As reported by the BBC, “ultranationalists” advocating for “traditional sexuality” are adding fire to the controversial law, posting videos on YouTube of men they call “pedophiles” — but who are likely gay — being physically assaulted. In one video, a young gay man is forced to drink urine; in another, a man has his head slammed into a toilet bowl.
While such violence doesn’t represent the views of all those who support Russia’s new law, critics of the law contend these extreme actions are being fuelled by the anti-gay law.
“Our priority is uncovering cases of pedophilia, but we are also against the promotion of homosexuality,” Ekaterina Zigunova, member of an ultra-nationalist Russian vigilante group, told the BBC. “If, along the way, we encounter people of nontraditional sexual orientation, we can kill two birds with one stone.”