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Russia Flies 'Straight Flag' To Combat 'Gay Fever'

09/07/2015 11:31 BST | Updated 20/07/2015 17:59 BST

Vladimir Putin's party United Russia has unveiled a new flag designed to combat so-called "gay fever" just weeks after the US supreme court ruled that same-sex marriage has been legalised across the country.

The flag was officially released on Russia's 'Family, love and fidelity' day, an annual event that draws comparisons to the West's Valentines Day.

Weeks before the announcement, officials were campaigning to ban the rainbow flag despite complaints from LGBT rights groups. Russia's Deputy head Andrey Lisovenko described the new "straight flag" as "in no way offensive".

russia

The flag celebrates 'straight pride'

The logo in dispute features a family holding hands which is made up of a mother, father and three children. It also has a hashtag reading #realfamilies.

The launch of the flag saw groups of both young and old waving the "straight" mascot, while the Moscow branch of United Russia branch proclaimed: "It honors the nuclear family and traditional Russian values".

A Stonewall spokesperson said: "A #realfamily is not determined by sexual orientation or gender identity, but love.

"That sentiment is certainly missing from this flag as is, in our opinion, a splash more colour. It’s also another example of how much work we still have left to do to combat homophobic, biphobic and transphobic attitudes and behaviours."

And Young Labour's National LGBT officer Jack Falkingham said: "This 'straight pride' flag may be just a pathetic attempt by some to cling on to the bigoted chapters of history.

"However it reminds us that whilst progress is being made and equality enshrined in many parts of the world, the fight for LGBT rights [in Russia] is ongoing."

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Others flocked to Twitter to voice their disgust:

NUS LGBT Officer Robbiie Young said: "Having a 'straight pride' flag undermines the whole premise of the (LGBT) movement and does not recognise that oppression based on sexuality is something that has and is being fought.

"Structural oppression does not affect people for being straight and it is the norm in most of society."

United Russia have long opposed LGBT rights and have introduced legislation such as prohibiting transgender people from driving.

Useful websites and helplines:

Gay Rights In Russia