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Orthodox Believers Seek Ban on Moscow's Gay Clubs

A group of Russian Orthodox believers on Monday called for the closure of all gay clubs in Moscow as part of the drive to ban the promotion of homosexuality.

The People's Council, a nationalist Orthodox organization, said in a statement that homosexuality is "a grave sin" and that it was seeking to close gay clubs that "entice fragile members of society into the gay community," Interfax reported.

Moscow has around 10 gay or gay-friendly bars and clubs, including the 12 Volt bar and Body & Soul (Chance), the city's oldest gay club, according to various Internet listings.

The People's Council believes that Moscow deputies should follow the example set by their counterparts in St. Petersburg and other Russian cities, where the "promotion of homosexuality to minors" has already been banned.

The law, upheld by the Supreme Court, which came into effect in St. Petersburg on March 17, stipulates that companies and individuals can be fined between 5,000 and 500,000 rubles for so-called "homosexual propaganda."

Some Moscow deputies have already offered their support to the organization, including Vera Stepanenko and Mikhail Antsontsev of the United Russia party.

This is the second time this month that the People's Council has spoken out against "homosexual propaganda." It also accused food and beverage company Wimm-Bill-Dann of promoting homosexuality by including a rainbow on the packaging of its Jolly Milkman products.

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