Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law has been ruled as a violation of human rights.

Under the legislation that was made law in 2013, any event or act regarded by the Russian authorities as an attempt to promote homosexuality to minors is illegal and punishable by a fine. The legislation has been used to stop numerous gay pride parades and events since it was brought into effect.

However, in a landmark ruling today (June 20), The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the controversial law is in breach of European treaty rules.

“The Court found in particular that, although the laws in question aimed primarily at protecting minors, the limits of those laws had not been clearly defined and their application had been arbitrary,” the 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.”

Vitaly Milonov, a lawmaker from the ruling United Russia party, said in response: “The decision … shows that our country has chosen the right path to preserve its culture and human identity.

“I’m sure that we will support the institution of a traditional strong family in future and shield children from attacks by all manner of minorities.”

The ruling made by the court is binding, because Russia is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Following the landmark ruling, the Russian government has pledged to appeal what it labelled an “unjust” decision.