Pro-LGBT pastor ejected from Russia after police claim he planned to conduct a same-sex marriage
Russian police arrested a pro-LGBT pastor and ordered him to leave the country under accusations that he planned to conduct a same-sex marriage.
Pastor Jim Mulcahy, 72, was forced to leave Russia after authorities said he was planning to conduct a same-sex marriage.
Mulcahy, who is originally from Boston but is now based in Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine, denies these allegations and says he was only taking part in a discussion with an LGBT group called Avers.
In Ukraine, Mulcahy is the Eastern Europe coordinator for the US-based Metropolitan Community Church, which is known for performing the first same-sex marriage in the US – but does not conduct these services in Europe.
The arrest took place in Samara, around 760 kilometers from Moscow, and was filmed by Russian channel NTV.
The NTV, a state-controlled channel whose reports often take a pro-Kremlin stance, questioned the validity of Mulcahy’s position as a pastor and claimed he had converted to Orthodox Christianity, which Mulcahy says is untrue.
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Reporters also said the pastor gave religious seminars in Russia in addition to performing unspecified ceremonies for homosexuals.
Police approached Mulcahy while he was sitting down for his planned Q&A with Avers, the officers told him they had received a tip-off that Mulcahy was about to conduct a gay wedding.
He was then brought to a police station, where he claims he was held and questioned for approximately eight hours, and though he is diabetic and has prostate cancer, was not allowed to return to his hotel to get his medication.
Following the questioning, he was taken to court where a judge ruled that he had violated the terms of his tourist visa by engaging in unspecified religious activity.
Mulcahy was fined 2,000 Russian Rubles (£23) and given five days to leave Russia.
Despite the traumatic experience, Mulcahy told the Associated Press, “I wasn’t afraid; I felt like this was something I had to endure.”