Russian Orthodox Christians demand gay bar ban over fears nightspots 'entice' people to be LGBT.
Photo by Daniel Kruczynski
Russian religious activists are calling for the closure of gay clubs in Moscow, to stop people being 'enticed' to become homosexual.
Members of Orthodox Christian group, the Narodny Sobor (People’s Council), are petitioning the Russian capital's parliament to ban the city's gay bars and clubs.
'We conducted a study earlier and found that such a law would not contradict international law. Homosexuality, as well as its propaganda, is a grave sin,' Oleg Kassin, co-chairman of the group told Izvestia daily.
He added that 'it’s necessary to close gay clubs' in Moscow because they 'directly entice immature souls' into the LGBT community.
The homophobic campaign has also seen support from politicians, with United Russia Member of Parliament, Mikhail Antontsev, telling Izvestia that his party are 'ready to discuss' a possible bill which might protect children from 'unnecessary information'.
The MP says he would also back legislation which bans so-called gay propaganda nationwide.
The Russian Orthodox church agrees, with Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin claiming they have 'every right to maintain the purity of the society and to protect our children from all sorts of sinful manifestations.'
He added: 'Both the Church and the majority of the community agree that homosexuality is far from being a normal thing.'
In June, gay pride was banned in Moscow for 100 years and in March a national anti-gay bill, similar to the one passed in St Petersburg, was submitted to the Russian parliament by lawmakers from the Novosibirsk region.
The proposed law calls for fines of up to 500,000 rubles ($16,500 €12,400) for 'spreading homosexual propaganda' among minors.
If passed, it would gag gay and transgender people nationwide, potentially banning public discussion of LGBT issues or events targeted at gay and trans people.
The St Petersburg bill, passed in February 2012, makes it an offense to engage in any 'propaganda' that could give minors 'the false perception that traditional and nontraditional relationships are socially equal.'
The Russian states of Arkhangelsk, Ryazan and Kostroma have already adopted similar anti-gay laws.
The laws have been roundly condemned by Europe, the US State Department, human rights organizations and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender campaigners and individuals as well as their straight allies.