Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle will meet with the Russian ambassador to Australia to discuss a controversial law passed by the city of St Petersburg that bans public discussion of homosexuality.
In March of 2012 a new law was adopted in St Petersburg, banning so-called ‘propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderness [sic] among minors’
The law punishes ‘homosexual propaganda’ in public with fines of up to $15,600 or up to 15 days in prison.
In response, many of the cities that have sister-city relationships with St Petersburg broke their ties, and Melbourne, Australia, is the latest to think about reconsidering its relationship with St Petersburg.
‘I am very aware of the new laws in St Petersburg,’ Mayor Doyle told The Age newspaper.
‘I have sought a meeting with the Russian ambassador, I will take advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and once we have had those conversations we will be making further comment.’
‘Obviously my first position is, it is always best to continue to talk to try and effect outcomes in a positive way.’
Doyle made the comments after a petition on Change.org started by LGBT rights activist Carl Katter was signed by nearly 7,000 people.
Similar petitions are running for Paris and Barcelona to end their relationship with St Petersburg.
Venice, Turin and Milan have already ended sister-city relationships with St Petersburg – while a resolution to end the sister-city relationship between Los Angeles and St Petersburg is before its city council.