Conservative religious groups in Russia are campaigning to ban Facebook and return the nation to its criminalization of homosexuality after Facebook created new icons so users could show they are in a same-sex marriage.
The campaign was launched in Saratov and several other Russian regions — including St Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Arkhangelsk — where gay propaganda is banned by law.
In just three days the activists managed to obtain 34,000 signatures, said the leader of the Orthodox public organization, Vladimir Roslyakovsky. The goal is to get the support of at least a million citizens, he stated, adding that Muslim, Catholic and Jewish communities are also participating in the campaign, since “Dealers who cash in on children have neither conscience nor religious beliefs.”
“We demand only one thing: Facebook should be blocked in the entire country because it openly popularizes homosexuality among minors,” Roslyakovsky is quoted as saying.
The campaign was reportedly organized by an Orthodox community in the city of Saratov in southern Russia.
The group first demanded that Facebook cease “flirting with sodomites” and that it remove all content the group had deemed to be promoting homosexuality.
The group then sent an ultimatum to the social network’s international office in Russia and gave the company 24 hours to respond under threat of being sued. Facebook ignored the threat and now the campaign seems to have escalated, with the group now reportedly calling for a return of anti-gay penal code regulations as well as a complete ban.
This marks a further worrying development in the human rights landscape faced by LGBTs in Russia after several local governments, most infamously the St Petersburg government, have moved to institute a ban on the so-called “promotion” of LGBT identity in the public square, supposedly to protect children. There are now efforts to create similar nationwide ban.
Eight gay rights protesters were arrested last weekend for supposed violations of the propaganda ban. The ban is being used, it would seem, to stop any kind of gay rights affirming demonstrations.