Court rules that Riga City Council’s ban on Latvian Pride parade was illegal
Latvia’s Riga Regional Administrative Court ruled April 12 that the Riga City Council’s ban on last year’s gay Pride parade was illegal.
The council had cited safety concerns in prohibiting the march and was backed up by the District Administrative Court.
Pride spokeswoman Kristine Garina said the new ruling “shows that freedom of speech and freedom of assembly do exist in Latvia, and that the right of the LGBT community to organize a march has been evaluated as having more importance than the desire of some other people to push a certain community out of the public arena by means of threats and violence.”
Because of last year’s ban, organizers instead held a religious service and meetings at a local hotel. They were confronted by Christian, ultra-nationalist and neo-Nazi protesters who pelted them with eggs, rotten food and human feces.
Moldovan city officials once again ban all public gay Pride activities
City officials in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau have banned all public gay Pride activities for the third year in a row, saying such events threaten public order, offend Christian values and promote sexual propaganda.
The decision flouts a recent Supreme Court ruling which declared the 2006 ban illegal.
“Not only [do] the Chisinau city authorities openly disregard the rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, but they act illegally in breach of the decision of the supreme judicial body of their own country,” said Christine Loudes, policy director for the European branch of the International Lesbian and Gay Association.
Swedish Member of the European Parliament Maria Carlshamre added, “With decisions like this, Moldovan authorities are taking further steps away from the rest of Europe.”
In its ruling, the Supreme Court said it “considers unjustified the refusal of the Chisinau city hall to authorize a march of solidarity by [Pride organizing group] GenderDoc-M reasoning that it is a possible threat to public order, as this motive is disproportional with the right to freedom of assembly, guaranteed by … the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.”
GenderDoc-M plans to ignore this year’s ban and “go out on the street at the time indicated in the application to City Hall to protest against local authorities’ violation of basic human rights.”
First gay Pride celebration set for June in small Saskatchewan city
The small Canadian city of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, will see its first gay Pride parade June 9.
Some local Christians unsuccessfully lobbied the City Council to block the march. Preacher Rick Potratz warned of “men walking down public streets half-naked … wearing nothing but a G-string.”
Prince Albert, population 41,460, is Saskatchewan’s third-largest city after Saskatoon and Regina.
It is situated near the geographic center of the province, 88 miles north of Saskatoon.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, April 27, 2007.