Icelandic Mayor Wants to Cut Ties With Moscow Over Gay 'Propaganda' Ban

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com July 15 2013 3:31 PM ET

The mayor of Iceland's capital city, Reykjavíc, wants to cut his city's cultural and political ties with Moscow over Russia's new nationwide ban on so-called homosexual propaganda, reports the Reykjavíc Grapevine

Since 2007, Reykjavík and Moscow have been "sister cities, " meaning the two jurisdictions exchange information and cooperate on policies concerning youth and family. But Reykjavík mayor Jón Gnarr filed a motion in a city council meeting last week to end the cities' relationship, citing the Russian capital's antigay policy, which was just adopted by the full Russian parliament and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin. 

"In light of the developments that have taken place in recent years in matters of gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Russia, the Human Rights Office and the Mayor’s Office have entrusted the deputy mayor to propose amendments to the existing agreement between the two cities or terminate it all together following consultation with the Foreign Ministry,"  read the minutes from the City Council meeting, according to the Grapevine. 

Gnarr rose to prominence as a comedian, and was elected mayor of the Icelandic capital city in 2007. He's long been an outspoken ally to the LGBT community in Iceland, and often appears at local Pride parades in full drag. Iceland established marriage equality by a unanimous parliamentary vote in 2010, according to Reuters, and in 2009 elected Joanna Sigurdardóttir, an out lesbian, as its first-ever female Prime Minister. 

While Icelandic politicians condemned Russia's law that imposes steep fines or jail time for any individual, government entity, or media outlet found to be discussing"non-traditional sexual relations" to minors,  the sister of Australia's prime minister said she believes Putin is on the right track. 

"I think there should be a law [in Australia] protecting children from the propaganda of homosexuality as normal," Loree Rudd told Australia's News.com.au. Rudd is a nurse and former nun whose youngest brother is current Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. "I guess the bottom line, if there's one thing I can say that can't be challenged, it's that society needs to protect its children as best they can," Loree Rudd concluded. She also registered her disagreement with her brother's avowed support for marriage equality, noting that she won't work on his campaign because of the disagreements.