Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Bayev v Russia - challenging 'homosexual propaganda' laws

The European Court of Human Rights have communicated the complaint in Bayev v Russia.

The three applicants complain about their arrest and conviction under regional administrative laws regulating public actions aimed at propaganda of homosexuality among minors.

The applicants complain under Article 10 of the Convention 'about the ban on public statements concerning the identity, the rights and social status of sexual minorities'. They argue that 'the prohibition of “homosexual propaganda” introduced by the recent legislation constitutes a blanket ban on the mere mention of homosexuality and that it applies irrespective of the content of the message'.

The applicants also complain that the 'blanket ban' on mentioning homosexuality is discriminatory and therefore in breach of Article 14 of the Convention.

The Court has communicated the following questions to the parties:
  1. Has there been a violation of the applicants’ right to freedom of expression, contrary to Article 10 of the Convention?
  2. Do Russian legal provisions governing administrative liability for “propaganda of homosexuality among minors” meet the “quality of law” requirements contained in Article 10 § 2 of the Convention?
  3. Have the applicants suffered discrimination in the enjoyment of their Convention rights, contrary to Article 14 of the Convention read in conjunction with Article 10?
This is a significant complaint given the subsequent enactment of federal law regulating 'propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors'.

If the Court upholds the applicants' complaint it will be the first time that it has found a violation of Article 10 of the Convention in respect of a complaint brought by a homosexual applicant.

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