Russian court orders LGBT groups to disband for ‘denying family values’

Judges gavel and law books stacked behind
Millions of LGBT lives are at risk following a Russian court’s decision to have two crucial LGBT+ groups disbanded from the country’s largest social network, Vkontakte, for “denying family values”.

As a result of the country’s controversial ‘gay propaganda law,’ a federal bill passed down in 2013 that prohibits even the mention of homosexuality, The Russian LGBT Network may no longer be active on the social media site.

The Russian LGBT Network released a statement saying  the Oktyabrsky District Court found that the groups “deny family values, propagate non-traditional sexual relations and cause disrespect to parents and other family members,” after monitoring the group’s website activities.

The analysis revealed the presence of “pictures, photos and video content demonstrating homosexual love between men and women” which is “considered to be promotion of non-traditional sexual relations”.

As well as information “which neglects family values, promotes non-traditional sexual relations and forms disrespect to parents and/or other family members”.

The group, which was instrumental in evacuating 150 people threatened by the anti-gay purges in Chechnya, must sever contact from VKontakte, which has 100 million users and ranks as the second largest global social network, severing their contact from a large portion of the Russian community.

Svetlana Zakharova, communications manager and board of the Russian LGBT Network, says the group plans to appeal the ruling at the St. Petersburg City Court. 

“We have 30 days before the decision of the court enter into force,” she said. “We believe that our rights to freedom of speech and expression were severely violated. We believe that all our materials should be available for everyone including minors”.

“The Russian LGBT Network is a human rights organization. We do not post any materials, which is needed to be marked 18+. We tell about discrimination and violation of human rights, and we provide help to everyone including teen-agers. And we will struggle for our right to impart information,” said Zakharova in a statement.