Tuesday, December 13, 2011

European Union to Address Antigay Moves in Russia

I have noted more than once the anti-gay batshitery on the rise in Russian with proposed legislation in numerous Russian cities that would restrict the freedom of speech and freedom of assembly of LGBT Russians. Some have conjectured that the anti-gay agenda is part and parcel with would be totalitarian elements in Russian society - how do you say Vladimir Putin? - and others who seek to move Russia backward in times. Now, the European Union seems to be taking belated action and appears head to a confrontation with Putin. One can only hope that the confrontation leads to a change from the current homophobic course and a message is sent that modern, responsible and civilized nations do not trample upon the rights of minority groups regardless of the motivation that may lie behind the anti-gay bigotry. I'd also note that if Putin and his party are behind the rising homophobia, I hope it bites him in the ass like his recent election fraud effort. Here are some highlights from The Advocate:

European Union leaders today received a petition opposing antigay initiatives in Russia — and promised to raise the issue with Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin.

The petition by international LGBT rights group AllOut.org, bearing 246,245 signatures from around the world, was delivered to Catherine Ashton, high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs, and Ulrike Lunacek and Michael Cashman, members of the European Parliament and copresidents of its Intergroup on LGBT Rights, at the Parliament office in Strasbourg, France.

The legislative assembly of St. Petersburg has given preliminary approval to a bill that would prohibit public mention of gay or transgender issues; it would have the effect of banning pride parades and many other events. The city government in Moscow is also working on such a law, and the national government is reportedly considering one as well. Two regions of Russia have adopted similar measures. Backers of the various bills include United Russia, the political party to which Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev belong.

The European Parliament is scheduled to adopt a resolution condemning this legislation tomorrow, and Ashton promised to meet with Putin and bring up the concerns about it, according to a news release from the Parliament.

As I noted previously, as much as I'd love to visit Russia - St. Petersburg in particular - if this legislation passes, Russia will be definitely deleted from our list of travel destinations.

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