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A demonstrator holds a poster with a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the text 'Love always wins' in Madrid on February 5, 2014 during a demonstration against anti-gay laws in Russia. — AFP picA demonstrator holds a poster with a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the text 'Love always wins' in Madrid on February 5, 2014 during a demonstration against anti-gay laws in Russia. — AFP picSTRASBOURG, June 20 — The European Court of Human Rights ruled today that a Russian law banning the promotion of homosexuality breaches European treaty rules on freedom of expression and is discriminatory against gay people.

Three Russian gay rights activists brought the case against the 2013 federal statute, widely known as the "gay propaganda" law, which incorporated regional legislation.

"The very purpose of the laws and the way they were formulated and applied in the applicants' case had been discriminatory and, overall, served no legitimate public interest," the Strasbourg-based court said in a statement.

"Indeed, by adopting such laws, the authorities had reinforced stigma and prejudice and encouraged homophobia, which was incompatible with the values of a democratic society." — Reuters

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