Russian court upholds firing of teacher for being gay

23rd April 2015, Comments 0 comments

A Russian court has thrown out a complaint from a gay teacher in the northwestern city of Saint Petersburg against her dismissal for "immoral" behaviour, a gay rights advocacy group said Thursday.

"The Kirovsky court of Saint Petersburg did not recognise her dismissal as discriminatory," a group that defends the rights of LGBT (lesbian gay and bisexual) people, Vykhod, said in a statement.

The unnamed teacher was sacked in December for an "immoral act" incompatible with her professional activities, the group said.

The school's management cited publication on the Internet of photos of the teacher with her female partner, accusing them of breaching Russia's controversial law banning "propaganda" of homosexual relationships to minors.

The photographs were never put on open access, the rights group said, making it unclear how the school staff saw them.

The teacher "had never talked about her private life to her colleagues, still less to her pupils," said Ksenia Kirichenko, a lawyer at Vykhod.

"Therefore, it is necessary to recognise that the fact she is gay was the only reason for her dismissal, which means it is a case of discrimination."

In early April, a Saint Petersburg court also ordered the blocking of a popular advice site for gay teenagers on the social networking site VKontakte, saying it fell under the legislation banning propaganda of homosexuality.

In Russia, sodomy was a criminal offence until 1993 and classed as a mental illness until 1999. In 2013, Putin signed legislation banning the dissemination of "gay propaganda" to minors.

Human Rights Watch in December sounded the alarm over a rising number of homophobic attacks in Russia, saying that the ban on "gay propaganda" effectively legalises discrimination,

© 2015 AFP

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