UPDATE April 1, 2012. Despite our international uproar, conservative lawmakers in Saint Petersburg passed the notorious "propaganda" law to silence any reading, writing, speech or debate on anything "gay" - and the governor signed it in to law.
Our friends in Russia are determined to challenge the law - in the courts and on the streets - and we'll be with them every step of the way. Their message is simple but clear, despite attempts by the government to make LGBT people "disappear": We will not be silenced.
Feb. 29, 2012. They did it. Conservative lawmakers in Saint Petersburg just passed the notorious "propaganda" law to silence any reading, writing, speech or debate on anything "gay."
The goal? To make LGBT people disappear.
But the fight is far from over. St. Petersburg is one of Russia's number one tourist destinations. That's why an international storm of bad publicity will force the Governor to think twice about the cost of signing this bill.
Conservatives in St. Petersburg passed this "gay gag rule" despite condemnation from world leaders - and even the country's own international treaty obligations respecting freedom of expression. But at the same time, Russian leaders recently announced that they want to invest $11 billion dollars to build their international reputation and attract tourists from around the world. St. Petersburg, Russia's cosmopolitan "window to the west" is key to that strategy.
But they can't have it both ways - a thriving tourist economy can't coexist with a new law that will muzzle artists, writers, musicians and regular citizens who live in - or visit - the city.