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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 4, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 05
Struggle for Gay Rights Continues in St. Petersburg
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Struggle for Gay Rights Continues in St. Petersburg

The anti-gay draft law, prohibiting the so-called propaganda of "sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism and transgenderism" as well as pedophilia to minors, passed in the second reading today. 5 activists protesting in front of city parliament were arrested and detained for 7 hours before being released. They are being charged with demonstrating illegally and resisting the police.

During the hearing, author of the bill, Vitaly Milonov, accused the "liberal opposition" of wanting to destroy the country, put homosexuality in the same line with drug abuse and pedophilia, accused individual deputies who opposed the bill of not caring for the well-being of children, and made other judgmental remarks.

If this law is passed, Russian LGBT will live in fear of punishment just for being open about sexual orientation in their social environment. It paves the way to legalized discrimination, justifies violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Moreover, under the pretense of protecting minors, this law in fact will lead to further isolation and greater number of suicides by homosexual adolescents in a country that is already leading in the numbers of teenage suicides.

Besides laying the ground for legalized harassment and violations of human rights of LGBT, Russia is blatantly ignoring its federal law, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention for Human Rights, the Council of Europe Recommendations and other decrees, as well as opinions of numerous Russian and international experts - lawyers, psychiatrists, sociologists - who point out the complete lack of scientific evidence or sociological data behind its assumptions.

LGBT activists of St. Petersburg are not losing hope and are continuing to fight for their rights and dignity. Ahead are the third, and final, reading, after which the bill has to be signed into law by St. Petersburg governor, Mr. Poltavchenko. LGBT activists, their friends and colleagues, members of Russian and international human rights community and civil society, are continuing to campaign and raise the issue with Mr. Poltavchenko and Russian politicians on the federal level. Thousands of people around the world are asking their foreign officials to speak out http://allout.org/russia_call . More street protests in Russian and around the world are planned.

We thank you for your continued support in this battle.
Polina Savchenko
General Manager
St. Petersburg LGBT organization Coming Out
+7 (812) 313 9369
+7 (904) 609 9706
http://www.comingoutspb.ru

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Struggle for Gay Rights Continues in St. Petersburg
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