by Stefano Gennarini, J.D.

NEW YORK, August 30 (C-FAM) Human Rights Organizations from around the world are supporting Russia’s effort to protect children from homosexual propaganda.

A statement from civil society affirms the recently enacted Russian law, which imposes fines on individuals and groups that promote homosexuality among minors, as important steps towards fulfilling international obligations towards the family and minors.

Organizations from around the world are “rushing” to offer their support according to Profesionales por la Etica, the Spain based organization coordinating the effort. In just one week 71 organizations have offered their support.

Russia is protecting “genuine and universally recognized human rights against artificial and fabricated false values” like sexual orientation and gender identity, according to the statement.

The statement recognizes the Russian law as an effort to protect the family, the fundamental group unit of society. The law is about protecting the “innocence of children” and the “rights of parents”, it reads.

The Russian Duma adopted the Law almost unanimously in the spring. It has sparked international debate about whether countries may curb the freedom of speech of individuals and groups in order to protect minors from information that could be harmful to their health and development.

Homosexual groups have condemned the law as “anti-gay”, even though homosexuality is legal in Russia. Leaders in Western Europe and the United States have also criticized the law.

U.S. President Barack Obama said he has “no patience” with countries that try to “intimidate” homosexuals when he appeared on a popular talk show earlier this month condemning the Russian law. The comments came immediately after Obama cancelled a bilateral summit with the Russians.

Russia will host the Winter Olympics in Sochi next year. Critics of the Russian law are planning boycotts, and have even called on the Olympic Committee to move the games somewhere else.

While critics of the Russian law claim it violates the human rights of homosexuals, they find it difficult to address to the stated reason for enacting the laws, namely the negative health consequences of homosexual activity.

The Lancet reported last summer that homosexuals are 18 times more likely to contract HIV than heterosexuals, due to a combination of biological and behavioral risks associated with homosexual activity. Moreover, HIV is receding in most of the world, except among homosexual populations where it is skyrocketing. Homosexuals are also at higher risk for substance abuse, suicide, and depression.

Rumors earlier this month suggested the law would not apply to visitors during the Winter Olympics to be held in Sochi next year, but those rumors have been dispelled.

Last week the Olympic Committee was told by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak that the law will be very much in effect during the Olympics. At the same time, the Committee was reassured that Russia will abide with the non-discrimination provision of the Olympic Charter.

The Russians are determined to defend the law. Putin has issued a decree prohibiting any rally or demonstration in Sochi that is not related to the Olympics for the period surrounding the event.

Source: Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute