St. Petersburg, Russia - Last Sunday, for the first time, two human rights activists were charged and arrested in the Russian city of St. Petersburg for violating a new law banning the "promotion of homosexuality" by merely holding up a banner. The two men were detained on Thursday after protesting the law that came into effect on April 1.
Sergey Kondrashov, an independent attorney from Saint Petersburg - also a straight married man - was arrested for holding up a banner that read: "A dear family friend is lesbian. My wife and I love and respect her … and her family is just as equal as ours." He is now teaming up with AllOut.org to oppose the St Petersburg law, and a proposed similar law at national level by urging Russian Prime Minister and United Russia Party leader Vladimir Putin to denounce and stop the law.
On April 16, Kondrashov will appear in Court where he faces fines and up to 15 days in prison. Kondrashov explains, "Supporters of the law claim that it would "protect children," but my arrest makes clear the real intention. This law is really about making lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) people disappear in Russia's second largest city. And not just LGBT people - the law will muzzle people like me, straight people who care about our LGBT friends and family. Now that lawmakers in the Duma (the federal legislature) are debating a version of the law, this despicable law could go national - unless we fight it now. "
Gay rights, human rights and free speech activists in St. Petersburg have challenged the law in court, arguing that any mention of homosexuality can now be considered an offense under the bill. Meanwhile, The Russian federal legislature, the Duma, is now considering a national version of the law.
Andre Banks, executive director of AllOut.org explains, "Around the world and in Russia, people are starting to wake up to the idiocy of this law. From the Russian Human Rights Ombudsman, to the Presidential Human Rights Council, more figures are stepping up to tell Russia how this law is a flagrant violation of human rights. The law is being challenged in the courts, and it's losing popularity as it reminds people of a very ugly part of Russian history when people were silenced - or worse - for speaking their mind. Sergey is taking a stand - and thousands of All Out members in Russia and around the world and proud to stand with him."
SIGN THE PETITION HERE: http://www.allout.org/standwithsergey
LINK TO THE VIDEO: www.youtube.com/watch