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The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has appeared to justify the Russian invasion of Ukraine by blaming Kyiv’s annual LGBTQ pride parades. In a sermon on the seemingly ironically named “Forgiveness Sunday”, Patriarch Kirill said that any country which held gay pride marches were expressing loyalty to the West. 

Kirill told the Moscow Times, “Pride parades are designed to demonstrate that sin is one variation of human behaviour. That’s why in order to join the club of those countries, you have to have a gay pride parade.”

He continued, somewhat obliquely, “If humanity accepts that sin is not a violation of God’s law, if humanity accepts that sin is a variation of human behaviour, then human civilisation will end there.”

In his pro-Putin sermon, Patriarch Krill told his congregation that “the West essentially organises genocide campaigns against countries that refuse to stage gay parades”. This is not the first time that Krill has expressed his disquiet about LGBTQ equality: in 2013, he compared equal marriage legislation in western countries to Nazi and apartheid laws.

While it is reasonable to say that the former communist states of eastern Europe have been slower to the pro-LGBTQ party than their western counterparts, the LGBTQ+ community in Ukraine have benefitted from a raft of progressive law reforms which have been put in place since 2015, while Kyiv Pride has been a much-loved fixture on the Ukrainian capital’s calendar for more than a decade.

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