The Moscow Patriarchate urged Moldova on Thursday to amend "the law on gays equality" to avert the promotion of “sexual perversions,” a Church statement said on Thursday.
Moldova, which is part of the Russian Orthodox Church’s canonical territory, passed the law on May 25.
“We call on Moldovan authorities and the entire society to curb attempts to promote sexual perversions, immoral behavior, and to find an opportunity to amend the law,” read a statement from the Russian Orthodox Church’s Holy Synod, which was adopted at a two-day meeting in Gelendzhik on the Black Sea coast.
The Russian church warned in its statement that the law could be misused to restrict criticism of homosexuality and present it as a norm, while according to traditional religious beliefs, homosexuality is a sin.
“In most cases, homosexuality is a personal choice … which is why treating ‘sexual minorities’ in the same way as ethnic, racial or social minorities is totally incorrect,” the statement said.
Vladimir Legoida, head of the Holy Synod’s information department, said the new law had not been discussed with the public despite the church's appeals. Tens of thousands of Moldovans expressed discontent with the law, which bans discrimination of sexual minorities. Earlier Metropolitan of Chisinau and All-Moldova Vladimir (subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate) also expressed criticism of the new law.
The church also wants the words ‘sexual orientation’ to be extracted from the law but expressed content that the law defended the traditional values of the family as “a marriage based on mutual consent between a man and a woman.”
In March, authorities in St. Petersburg passed a law banning gay propaganda in the city, much to the annoyance of pop diva Madonna expected to perform in Russia's second capital in August.
On Thursday, June 7, the Moscow City Court ruled to uphold a district court’s decision to ban gay parades in Moscow for the next 100 years, turning down Moscow gay activists' request.
Homosexuality was only decriminalized in Russia in 1993, and anti-gay sentiments remain strong in society, including Russia's political establishment. In 2007, former Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov described attempts to hold a Gay Parade in the capital as "satanic." No Gay Parade has ever been officially permitted in Russia.