British Foreign Office “Concerned” About Proposed Anti Gay Moves in St. Petersburg

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LONDON, November 24, 2011    The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London expressed “concern” today over the proposed new law in St. Petersburg that would outlaw the “promotion” of gay, lesbian and transgender matters.

A bill received its ‘first reading’ last week – it passed by 27 votes to one.  A second reading is scheduled next week.

“We share the concerns of LGBT organisations and others about the proposed St Petersburg legislation which aims to ban ‘propaganda of homosexuality’ and appears to link issues of sexual orientation with paedophilia,” a spokesperson at the Foreign and Commonwealth told UK Gay News this morning.

“Our Consulate General in St Petersburg will discuss this issue with relevant Russian authorities, and through the EU we will raise this at the next EU-Russia consultations.”

And the British Government will not just be raising the matter within the European Union.

“The UK sees our Chairmanship of the Council of Europe as a chance to help all CoE Member States meet their obligations to promote and protect human rights, the rule of law and democracy, the spokesperson added.

“The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers guidance of 31 March 2010 asks all Member States to take measures to ensure ‘the freedom to receive and impart information on subjects dealing with sexual orientation or gender identity’,” she pointed out.

Yesterday, the legislature in St. Petersburg postponed the second reading of the bill.

According to the RIA Novosti news agency, the postponement came after politicians failed to agree on legal definitions.

“We have decided to double-check all legal definitions related to this bill,” its author Vilatly Milonov, a deputy with the ruling United Russia party, told reporters, the news agency reported.

Gay activists in St. Petersburg said yesterday that politicians might be getting cold feet over the bill as the matter was getting world-wide attention, with over 100,000 people signing an on-line petition.

They are angry that the LGBT community is being coupled with paedophilia.

“Paedophiles are criminals,” campaigning journalist Yelena Kostyuchenko told RIA Novosti, dismissing the bill as “absolutely flawed.”

“Sexual orientation is an inborn quality, you cannot change it and therefore don’t need to promote it, it’s not a political position,” she said.  “Homosexuality is not contagious.”


Washington Moves Over St. Petersburg Proposed ‘Gay Propaganda’ Bill.  Despite having more ‘weighty’ matters of foreign policy on its agenda, the State Department took less than 24 hours to react to a question on the proposed legislation in St. Petersburg that would outlaw “gay propaganda”, as the Russians call it.  (UK Gay News, November 23, 2011)

Why It Is Wrong in Even Considering Anti Gay Legislation in St Petersburg.  UK Gay News Commentary.  Russia, in allowing ‘anti-gay’ legislation to be introduced in two regions – Ryazan in 2006 and Arkhangelsk last month, has totally flouted conventions of the 47-nation Council of Europe which it voluntarily joined as it came out of the Soviet era.  And when the Duma in St. Petersburg finally passes a similar law in the coming weeks, and this is virtually inevitable, there will be three regions of the country that fall foul of Strasbourg.  (UK Gay News, November 22, 2011)

Moscow Authorities Now Propose Anti Gay Bill.  The authorities in Moscow are now proposing to introduce a Bill that will outlaw the “promotion of homosexuality”, it emerged this afternoon.  (UK Gay News, November 17, 2011)

Gay and Lesbian Rights: St. Petersburg About to Enter ‘Hall of Shame’.  Commentary by Nikolai Alekseev.  After Ryazan in 2006 and Arkhangelsk, this autumn the regional parliament of St. Petersburg is considering a bill which will outlaw ‘the promotion of homosexuality, lesbianism, and transgenderism to minors’.  St. Petersburg is about to enter the hall of shame of the Russian regions which limit a fundamental human right of an individual, the right to freedom of expression.  (UK Gay News, November 16, 2011)






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Posted: 24 November 2011 at 20:00 (UK time)


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