Russian Activists Seek Travel Ban for Antigay Law Backers
BY Julie Bolcer
March 19 2012 11:15 AM ET
Gay rights activists in Russia have appealed to the international community to bar the entry of St. Petersburg officials responsible for the new law that prohibits the “promotion” of homosexuality to minors.
RIA Novosti reports that St. Petersburg activists sent a letter to the governments of the United States, Australia, Canada, and the EU asking them to ban travel for Governor Georgy Poltavchenko, who signed the law on Sunday, and city lawmaker Vitaly Milonov, who initiated the measure. The controversial bill, modeled on similar legislation from three other Russian regions, penalizes individuals and organizations with fines ranging from $16,000 to $160,000 for "the propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia among minors,” a broad offense that has the practical effect of outlawing democratic assemblies like gay Pride events.
According to Gazeta.ru, the open letter says, "Milonov and Poltavchenko have disgraced Russia all over the world. They have turned our country and its ‘culture capital’ into the medieval barbaric times, what that means is that there is no place for them in the contemporary civilized countries. Milonov and Poltavchenko do not share the values of democracy, freedom and human rights. They cannot be allowed to spread their homophobic views abroad.”
The law sparked a global outcry from the LGBT community and human rights groups. ThinkProgress reports that a Russian journalist has asked Madonna, Mercedes-Benz and PepsiCo to boycott St. Petersburg and cancel scheduled events, and the Canadian government has warned its LGBT citizens about travel to the city.