A few weeks ago Rebel Scum pointed readers toward an All Out petition protesting against a bill that would make all writing that supports LGBT issues a criminal offence.
That bill won the second round of voting on February 8, and is now back for its final vote. AllOut have started a petition that takes a different tack. Instead of writing about human rights, this one is about a boycott of St. Petersburg as a holiday destination. It’s a smart move. There has since the 1960s been a correlation between money and LGBT rights. Look at how rights in Britain changed in the ’90s with the advent of the Pink Pound.
This is what All Out had to say:
In less than a week Russian lawmakers are expected to pass a law that will silence millions by making it a crime to read, write or even discuss anything “gay.” Even worse, if this law passes in “liberal” St. Petersburg, the ruling party’s next step is to push this law nationwide. The Governor of St. Petersburg is our last chance to stop this bill: he has the power to veto it. So with your help, we’re going to hit him where it counts : in the City’s wallet.
Saint 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.
We have less than a week to act: add your name to this urgent call. Next week All Out members around the world are organizing flashmobs in front of Russian embassies and consulates – from New York to Buenos Aires, Paris to Delhi – where they will deliver your signature straight to the government’s doorstep.
Conservatives in St. Petersburg intent on passing this “gay gag rule” believe they can casually dismiss calls 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.
Imagine for a moment the new St. Petersburg – where newly empowered “thought police” can fine you for any mention of the well known fact that famed Russian composer Tchaikovksy, a St. Petersburg native, was gay. This law will censor millions of Russians, gay and straight – and silence any and all human rights organizations in Russia fighting for equal rights.
Will you take one minute to urge Governor Georgy Poltavchenko to veto the bill that is going to stain St. Petersburg’s international reputation – an issue close to his heart?
Over the past few months over 270,000 people have joined All Out in denouncing the bill, and thousands of us have picked up the phone to call our foreign offices, pushing the US, UK, Germany, France, Australia and others to issue official condemnations. We have to keep up the pressure – now, more than ever.
We have less than a week before the final vote. Add your name to this call now: if the Governor feels that the world is looking, and that the good reputation of the city is at stake – he’ll have to think twice before signing this odious bill into law: