In July, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, condemned the advance of marriage equality in the West, calling it a symptom of the apocalypse.
While giving a sermon in Red Square’s Kazan Cathedral, Patriarch Kirill said of the growing number of countries accepting same-sex marriage around the globe: “This is a very dangerous and apocalyptic symptom… It means that people are on the path of self-destruction.”
The Russian Orthodox Church had been a key supporter of the law, and Patriarch Kirill maintained the Church’s view that homosexuality is a sin – although he cautioned against punishing people for their sexuality.
In 2009 he told an interviewer: “We respect the person’s free choice, including in sex relations.”
Although he reiterated again that the majority of religions saw homosexuality as a sin and gay marriage could not be allowed, he added: “Those who commit a sin must not be punished… And we have repeatedly spoken out against discriminating people for their nontraditional sexual orientation.”
In July, a group of Russian Orthodox activists in the southern city of Saratov said Facebook is involved in “gay propaganda”.
The social network had updated the icons users can put on their profile timelines to indicate key personal events.
Gay married users had previously had to use an icon of a bride and groom to mark the date of their wedding.
The head of the Orthodox group said his campaign amassed 34,000 signatures in three days on a petition demanding Facebook to stop what he termed “flirting with sodomites”, believing the network is breaking regional laws on ‘gay propaganda’.
Vladimir Roslyakovsky said: “We demand only one thing: Facebook should be blocked in the entire country because it openly popularizes homosexuality among minors.”
Ahead of Sir Elton John’s July performance in Russia this year, it was suggested that the famed entertainer’s outfits constituted “homosexual propaganda”.
The singer was due to play in the Russian city of Krasnodar on 14 July, but it was suggested by the leader of a local communist group that, through the way he dresses, Sir Elton is “promoting” homosexuality.
Mikhail Abramyan, leader of told RIA Novosti that Sir Elton’s outfits are “homosexual propaganda”, and that he should wear the traditional Russian dress of ”knee-length kaftan, a fur hat and leather boots,” instead.
Abramyan also threatened that the group will protest the concert if it were to go ahead as planned.
Organisers of the concert rejected the new proposed outfit.