The Italian city of Venice has broken off cultural ties with St Petersburg, because of the Russian city’s anti-gay law.
The city council voted unanimously to refrain from ‘cultural exchanges’ as long as laws known to supposedly prevent ‘homosexual propaganda’ to minors.
It invoked Venice’s ‘history, international prestige and conscience’ in the motion last Monday (28 January).
It states ‘the city of Venice cannot ignore what is happening in the institutions’ and asked officials to communicate the reason for the unilateral action.
The Russian and Italian cities agreed in 2006 to pursue cultural exchanges, which has seen them trade art and museum pieces.
Milan also saw them end their cultural relationship with St Petersburg last year.
On Friday (25 January), the state Duma voted to pass a national law banning the ‘promotion of homosexuality’.
A spokesperson for Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs condemned the Russian bill today, saying: ‘The implementation of this law could reinforce discrimination against LGBT people as well as all those who support them and their choices, in particular by limiting their freedom of expression and their freedom of association and assembly.
‘The High Representative calls on the Russian Federation to uphold its national and international commitments – in particular in the framework of the Council of Europe as a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights – to protect the enjoyment of these rights by all individuals’.