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Campaign calls for US action against Russian firm's gay ban

Petition urges US to take legal action against global outdoor retailer Expedition after company banned gays from its course for young business leaders

Campaign calls for US action against Russian firm's gay ban

Campaigners are calling for a US investigation into a global retail company which is banning gay applicants to its business course.

Outdoor goods retailer Expedition drew angry criticism after it stated on its website that gay people are not allowed to apply for a place on its Academy for Entrepreneurship in Russia.

The firm, which has 360 stores worldwide including the US, says only ‘heterosexual’ people, aged 21 to 27 and with no health problems can take part in the three-month training program.

A petition has now been launched against Epedition, which has branches in Delaware and New York, with campaigners urging the American government to investigate the company for breaking federal and state discrimination laws.

Larry Poltavtsev, president and CEO of LGBT business Target Labs, is also petitioning the US Department of State to warn US consulates abroad and the American immigration service that owners and executives of the Russian-owned Expedition are engaged in ‘discrimination practices and persecuting people based on their sexual orientation’.

‘We encourage US Consulates and USCIS to carefully evaluate their eligibility for US visas and/or other immigration benefits,’ Poltavtsev added.

Campaigners in Russia have already called for a boycott of the company.

Russia has seen an increasing crackdown on gay rights recently, with Orthodox Christians calling for a ban on gay clubs in Moscow on Monday (8 October).

In June, gay pride was banned in Moscow for 100 years and in March a national anti-gay bill, similar to the one passed in St Petersburg, was submitted to the Russian parliament by lawmakers from the Novosibirsk region.

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