Men should 'grow beards to prevent becoming gay': priest
HOMOSEXUALITY isn't catching. But clearly no one told the priest who has said straight men should grow full and bushy beards to prevent them from accidentally swapping sexualities.
Metropolitan Kornily, Primate of the Russian Orthodox Old Believer Church, may not want to visit any of the gay bars on Sydney's Oxford Street - fulsome facial hair is totally on trend right now.
Kornily, who last month met up with Russian President Vladimir Putin, lamented that beards had fallen out of fashion.
"God set down certain rules.
The Lord created everyone with a beard. No man can resist his creator," Kornily told Russia's National News Service.
"It's made a monstrous thing to see men's clothing and hairstyles changing."
The beard had almost "completely disappeared from the Catholic West," he added, surely a nod to the clean shaven Pope Francis.
Kornily said Russian men should refrain from the razor to "protect themselves from homosexuality," reported the Moscow Times.
The holy man has yet to explain how gay man Conchita Wurst won the Eurovision Song Contest in drag with a beard.
Russia's Old Believers split from the more mainstream Russian Orthodox Church in 1666 after shunning reforms made by Patriarch Nikon of Moscow.
The comments might seem odd but Russia has become an increasingly troubled country for gay people to live in.
While homosexuality is not illegal, a series of so called "gay propaganda" laws has seen LGBTI marches shut down and gay people sent underground. Authorities say the laws are in the interests of "protecting" children.
Earlier this year, the government of the autonomous Russian republic of Chechnya was accused of setting up concentration camps for gay people.
On Tuesday, The European Court of Human Rights ruled a Russian law banning the promotion of homosexuality breaches European treaty rules on freedom of expression and is discriminatory against gay people, reported Reuters.
Three Russian gay rights activists brought the case against the 2013 federal statute.
"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."
Russia said it would appeal the ruling.
"The (Russian) Justice Ministry expresses its disagreement with the conclusions of the European Court," the ministry said in a statement, saying it would prepare an appeal within three months.