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Gay Laws Author Rejects Criticism

Published: March 14, 2012 (Issue # 1699)



  • Vitaly Milonov, the laws author.
    Photo: SERGEY CHERNOV / SPT

St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko signed into law a controversial bill against promoting sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism and transgenderism to minors Sunday, drawing a new wave of criticism from around the globe.

On Monday, the Human Rights Watch described Poltavchenkos failure to use his right of veto to stop this deplorable legislative initiative as profoundly disappointing and urged the prosecutors office of St. Petersburg to use its authority to insist that the city Legislative Assembly annul the law.

Criticism of the new law also came from the diplomatic quarters of St. Petersburg.

I am concerned that this legislation does not match Council of Europe guidelines on preventing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people (LGBT), Gareth Ward, the U.K. Consul General, wrote in emailed comments this week.

I hope that St. Petersburg remains an open and welcoming city for all, and that the important activities of Russian LGBT organizations to support gay people will be able to continue.

The law will take effect on March 21, 10 days after its official publication.

The Legislative Assembly lawmaking committee chair, Vitaly Milonov, who authored the bill in November, dismissed the criticism.

Speaking by phone Tuesday, Milonov, a deputy for the United Russia party, said the bill was inspired by societys demands, though he did not mention any specific incidents.

If society believes that some model of behavior doesnt correspond to societys interests, then society reacts to it, Milonov said.

We will be very happy if this bill isnt applied even once, because its not directed against somebody specifically or in regard of a specific case, but it does outline certain additional rules of behavior toward minors.

Answering criticism from the LGBT rights organization Coming Outs chair Igor Kochetkov, Milonov argued that the law would not be used against the media, which, he said, is regulated by federal law.

It has nothing to do with Kochetkov, either if, of course, he doesnt go to a school and start talking about how wonderful it is to be a homosexual, he said.

[The law] will only affect childrens environments.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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