Russian City Passes Bill Effectively Banning Gay Pride Parades, Activists Call For Tourism Boycott

St. Petersburg, Russia’s anti-gay propaganda bill has passed its third and final reading in the city legislature and now heads to Governor Georgiy Poltavchenko, who has 14 days to sign the bill into effect, or send it back to be “reworked.” Under the bill, individuals could be fined up to $16,000 and legal entities would have to pay $160,000 for promoting “homosexuality, pedophilia, or transgenderism to minors” and nearly all public pro-LGBT events would likely have to be curtailed or cancelled to avoid the penalty.

Russia has already implemented similar laws in Ryazan, Arkhangelsk and Kostroma regions, and lawmakers have expressed interest in adopting similar prohibitions in Moscow or nationwide. Meanwhile, countries and people around the world have condemned the effort and “ has begun a new petition targeting St Petersburg as a tourist destination.” The so-called Don’t Go There letter will be delivered to the governor. It reads:

As the top custodian of Saint Petersburg, city of Tchaikovsky and Russia’s “window to the west,” we call on you to veto this draconian bill that could silence the speech of ALL Russians. Russia is a strong, independent country – but we all live in a globalized world. If this bill is signed in to law, I will not and cannot travel to Saint Petersburg, and will urge all of my friends and acquaintances to follow suit.”

The petition has so far attracted 66,073 signatures.

Poltavchenko will likely sign the ban. He has previously said that the bill would “serve for the good of public morals” and noted that “[t]here is nothing more abominable than propaganda regarding such things.”