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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 19, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 29
Reykjavík cuts ties with Russia over anti-Gay law
Section One
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Reykjavík cuts ties with Russia over anti-Gay law

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Jon Gnarr, mayor of Reykjavík, Iceland, said on July 15 that he wants to break off his city's cultural and political relations with the Russian capital city, Moscow.

In 2007 the two capitals drew up a contract, pledging to cooperate on "family issues," but Russia's "Don't Say Gay" law, banning any public statements supporting LGBT rights, was too much for Gnarr to take.

"In light of the developments concerning the affairs of Gay, Bisexual, and Transsexual people that have taken place in Russia over the last few months, the district attorney, Human Rights Office, Office of the Mayor of Reykjavík, and City of Reykjavík chief administrative officer propose amendments or the termination of the collaboration agreement between Reykjavík and Moscow, in cooperation with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs," a formal statement issued July 15 said.

100-YEAR PRIDE BAN
The European Union has condemned the Russian law, but so far no E.U. member has proposed to cut diplomatic ties with Russia.

In June, Gnarr sent a message asking Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin not to ban ths year's Pride, after Moscow authorities in 2012 banned the celebration for 100 years. Moscow authorities did not back down, but the city's LGBT activists participated in a "virtual" Pride, featuring Twitter statements of support from all over the world.

A colorful politician who was a popular TV comedian before running for mayor of Reykjavík in 2010, Gnarr has been an outspoken supporter of human rights.

He has also shocked staid Icelanders with his flamboyant sense of humor. Shortly after his election, he turned up at the 2010 Pride parade in drag. The same year he sent out a video Christmas message wearing a Darth Vader mask and Santa hat.

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