International protests convene following ‘gay gag bill’ in RussiaBreaking News, Top Highlights Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
Lawmakers in St. Petersburg adopted a bill Wednesday that would impose fines of up to $16,700 for the “promotion of homosexuality.” The bill, if signed in to law by the City Governor in the next 14 days, will criminalize reading, writing, speaking or reporting on anything related to the gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender community.
In protest of the pending legislation, AllOut.org members were joined Tuesday by dozens of human rights organizations around the world in demonstrations at Russian embassies in Argentina (Buenos Aires), USA (New York), France (Paris), Germany (Berlin and Hamburg), Italy (Milan), Portugal (Lisbon), Belgium (Antwerp) and Brazil (Rio de Janeiro).
In solidarity with the coalition of Russian human rights organizations opposing the law, the flash-mobs delivered 300,000 signatures collected worldwide that demonstrate the level of global opposition to this proposed law.
“This radical law undermines the great legacy of our city’s past and future. If it passes, it would be illegal to mention that famed Russian composer of the 1812 Overture, St. Petersburg native Tchaikovksy, was gay,” said Polina Savchenko, director of Coming Out, an LGBT organization based in St. Petersburg. “This law installs a culture of censorship in what was once Russia’s most cosmopolitan city and is a huge blow to the freedom of expression in Russia. At a time when people all over the world are opening up and coming out, this law puts Russia back in the closet.”
World leaders and the country’s own international treaty obligations have called upon Russia to respect freedom of expression, but the country has ignored the calls, insistent on passing the “gay gag rule.”
“This reputation can’t coexist with a new law that will muzzle artists, writers, musicians and regular citizens who live in – or visit – the city,” says AllOut.org Executive Director Andre Banks. “This bill, which would violate Russia‘s own constitution as well as any number of international treaties, is an outrageous attack on the freedom of expression for all Russians – straight and gay. It must not be allowed to stand.”
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