In an update to news that the parliament in St Petersburg is likely to pass the second reading of a bill that criminalises expressing support for LGBT equality, campaign group AllOut is calling for an emergency bombardment of foreign ministries. Those who support LGBT activists in Russia are urged to contact their foreign ministry to call on them to challenge the move in St Petersburg.
Yesterday a delegation of European diplomats met with Vitaly Milonov, the politician who initiated the bill last November. But Milonov’s response, that he has ‘very deep religious beliefs’ does not suggest they succeeded in changing his mind.
Co-founder of AllOut.org Andre Banks said: ‘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.’
ComingOut, a LGBT-organization based in St. Petersburg said: ‘This law would legalize discrimination against gays and lesbians in Russia. The history of Europe shows that all totalitarian regimes here began with similar repression of LGBT people. If this law is allowed to pass, it could signal that Russia is sliding towards a new totalitarianism.’
St Petersburg is Russia's most cosmopolitan city, with established LGBT rights organisations, clubs and Pride marches. If passed, this bill will make all that illegal and punishable with heavy fines. The publication of any leaflets, books or blogs related to LGBT rights will also be illegal.
On AllOut.org’s website they have the phone numbers for foreign ministries in 50 countries and a sample script to help those against this bill to call their representatives and urge them to place diplomatic pressure on Russia.