DAY IN A HISTORY
Russia decriminalized male homosexuality
The repeal of the sodomy law was often explained as a pre-requisite prior to Russia being able to join the Council of Europe as a full member. Back in 1993, there was no resistance to put an end to the criminalization of male same-sex relations. It is only 12 years later, in July 2005, that Moscow gay rights activists announced that they will launch an annual Moscow Gay Pride March with the aim to commemorate this anniversary. The decision of the Mayor of the Russian Capitale, Yuri Luzhkov, to ban the event, did not stop gay activists to show up in the streets. Despite the event being banned every year, the organizers did not cancel any of their attempts. They eventually won against Russia at the European Court of Human Rights in 2011 for illegally banning their March. Moscow Pride is a campaign of GayRussia.
TODAY IN HISTORY
In 1993, President Boris Yeltsin signed a decree which repealed the law forbidding male homosexuality. Starting from 2006, Russian gay rights activists started to celebrate this date by attempting to organize an annual gay rights march known as Moscow Gay Pride. The first edition was banned and marred with violence. It was reffered as the first Russian Stonewall.
This day was founded in 2004 by French Academic Louis-Georges Tin to mark the anniversary of the declassification of homosexuality from the list of disease by the World Health Organization. Russian LGBT have been celebrating this day every year since 2005 under the leadership of Project GayRussia which was itself founded on May 17, 2005. GayRussia is Russia's coordinator of IDAHO.
Following Moscow in May 2009, Minsk was the second capital to host the Slavic Gay Pride. The March was banned and marred with violence but it did not prevent two dozens of Pride organizers from Moscow, Minsk and St. Petersburg to march over 300 meters waiving a 10meters long rainbow flag. 11 participants including some of the organizers were brutally arrested by police forces.
2009 marked the launch of GayRussia's campaign for the opening of same-sex union of gays and lesbians in Russia. While the Constitutional Court already expressd the opinion that marriage is between a man and a woman, activists believe that the lack of partnership or marriage for gay couples is a strong point to impose legislative changes via a decision of the European Court of Human Rights.
The five-judge panel of the Grand Chamber of the Court rejected the appeal of the Russian Federation in the Moscow Pride Ban case. The decision given on October 21 is final. By repeatedly banning Gay Pride Marches as well as other LGBT themed public action, Russia breached the European Convention on Human Rights.