EU, keep your nose out! Russia slaps down Europes top court over ‘systematic meddling’

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And a Kremlin spokesman said any implementation of the verdict would breach Russia’s constitution. The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights yesterday ruled Russia was obliged to respect the private and family lives of same-sex couples by offering them a legal framework for their relationships to be acknowledged.

The ruling followed complaints by several Russian same-sex couples who had tried unsuccessfully to register unions.

The court – which is separate from the European Union – said it was up to the state to determine the appropriate form to register same-sex unions.

However, given gay marriage is illegal in Russia, the court’s decision is unlikely to be welcomed by the administration of Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin.

Vasily Piskarev, a member of the Russian State Duma who heads a parliamentary commission dedicated to investigating foreign interference, said: “The ruling, which tries to make Russia register same-sex marriages, contradicts the foundations of Russian rule of law and morality.”

In comments posted on the Telegram messenger service, Mr Piskarev added: “This is clear systemic meddling in Russia’s internal affairs.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed implementing the court’s ruling would contravene Russia’s constitution, the TASS news agency reported yesterday.

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Russia last year adopted a set of constitutional reforms at the behest of President Vladimir Putin.

Among them was a line defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman only.

Mr Putin, a former KGB officer, has aligned himself closely with the Russian Orthodox Church in his more than 20 years in power.

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He has said, while he is in the Kremlin, Russia will not legalise gay marriage.

Speaking last year, he explained: “As far as ‘parent number 1’ and ‘parent number 2’ goes, I’ve already spoken publicly about this and I’ll repeat it again.

“As long as I’m president this will not happen. There will be dad and mum.”

A press release issued yesterday by the ECHR explaining its decision said Russia had “failed to justify the lack of any opportunity for same-sex couples to have their relationship formally acknowledged”.

It added: “The Court found that Russia had an obligation to ensure respect for the applicants’ private and family life by providing a legal framework allowing them to have their relationships acknowledged and protected under domestic law.

“The lack of any opportunity for same-sex couples to have their relationships formally acknowledged created a conflict between the social reality of the applicants and the law.

“The Court dismissed the Government’s argument that the interests of the community as a whole could justify the lack of opportunity for same-sex couples to formalise their relationships.”

The statement added: “It concluded that, in denying access to formal acknowledgment of their status for same-sex couples, the Russian authorities had gone beyond the discretion (margin of appreciation) enjoyed by them.

“The Court stated that the choice of the most appropriate form of registration of same-sex unions remained at the discretion of the respondent State.”

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