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Gay Rights Activists Arrested in Russia for ’Homosexual Propaganda’

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Friday Jan 13, 2012
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Three Russian LGBT activists were recently arrested in Arkhangelsk, Russia, under the "gay propaganda" law, which was passed last year, the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News reported in a Jan. 11 article.

Arkhangelsk is located in north of European Russia and lies on the Northern Dvina River.

The three activists, Nikolai Alexeev, Alexey Kiselev and Kirill Nepomnyaschly, were arrested for participating in a solidarity picket outside of a children’s library.

"Me, Alexey Kiselev and Kirill Nepomnyaschiy arrested at solitary pickets in Arkhangelsk," Alexeev writes on his Facebook page. "All of us are now at local police station, protocols are being written.... officially accused of homosexual propaganda in Arkhangelsk."

"It is the first time Arkhangelsk gay propaganda laws passed last autumn are used in practice! All of us face a fine of up to 2000 rub each (50 euros). Court hearing is scheduled for 20 January. But we are still at police."

The men have been charged and released.

The activists also held solitary pickets last month without any issues and even unfurled a 20-meter long rainbow flag in front of the city’s Parliament building.

Arkhangelsk passed the "homosexual propaganda law" in Sept. 2011 and Saint Petersburg adopted a similar law a month later, EDGE reported in a Nov. 2011, article. The legislation started in the country’s Ryazan region, which prohibits "propaganda of homosexuality among minors."

When the law was passed in St. Petersburg, a number of Russian gay rights activists protested saying that the law would threaten their freedom of expression and promote discrimination in the LGBT community.

In June 2011, the Associated Press reported that Russian police arrested 14 gay rights activists who were trying to hold an unsanctioned protest in St. Petersburg.

Russia’s LGBT members do not have many of the same rights as heterosexual residents but the country has made an improvement with LGBT issues over the past 20 years.

Same-sex marriage is not recognized in Russia. When it comes to adoption, single persons can adopt children, whether gay or straight, but since gay marriage is not legal, only straight couples have the opportunity to adopt.

Additionally, gays can serve in the military and transgender people can have their gender legally changed after the proper medical procedures.

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