Russia: No basis for 'homosexual propaganda' in int'l law - Lavrov
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov disagreed with his Dutch counterpart Franciscus Timmermans over Russia’s international commitments regarding homosexual rights.
Lavrov said that Russia, unlike the Soviet Union, has no law forbidding homosexual behavior between consenting adults, but it has the right to prohibit the proliferation of ‘homosexual propaganda.’
The Russian minister’s comments were in response to complaints by Timmermans, who urged the State Duma not to ban homosexual propaganda because it could “breach fundamental rights and freedoms declared by international documents.”
According to Timmermans, Moscow said it would abide by international commitments and will wait to see what transpires, but he along with EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and other European ministers had asked the Duma not to pass the law.
A bill that bans "homosexual propaganda towards minors" has yet to become law in Russia, but the first draft has already passed the lower chamber of the Russian parliament.
Lavrov emphasized that Russia’s Criminal Code, which regularly punished homosexuals in the days of the Soviet Union, was abolished a long time ago and "homosexuals could do what they do absolutely freely and with impunity."
The Foreign Minister based his comments on the fact that there is “no single universal or common European commitment to permit homosexual propaganda.” The only criterion is the commitments undertaken by countries at universal or common European institutes, he said.
Lavrov went to great lengths to convince Timmermans - a diplomat from a country where same-sex marriages have been the legal since 2001 - that Russian law does not discriminate.
"This (principle) fits the commitment of all states to prevent any kind of discrimination,” Lavrov stated. “Yet we have no commitment to permit propaganda, which is very aggressive as a rule.”
We cannot undertake such a commitment even theoretically because we (must consider the) moral values and the historical, cultural and religious traditions of our society, the minister added.
Lavrov then presented an interesting argument, saying that individuals who do not advocate the promotion of homosexual attitudes also deserve protection from the message.
"We do not discriminate against anyone, but we do not want to be discriminated against either: to give a group of citizens the right to aggressively promote their values, which differ from the values of the majority of society members, and thrust them on children," Lavrov concluded.