UK Twin City Appeals to St Petersburg to Drop Anti-Gay Law


Political leaders from Manchester, a UK city that is twinned with St. Petersburg and with whom it has a long standing history of good relations, are using their position to try and lobby the St. Petersburg administration to drop its anti-gay censorship law that was recently approved by the region’s legislative assembly.

Via the Lesbian and Gay Foundation:

Fulfilling a long standing engagement, representatives from Manchester City Council are meeting with the Governor of St.Petersburg this week to urge him to veto the offending Bill.

Councillor Sue Murphy, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Our friendship with St Petersburg is one that has lasted 50 years, and we consider it an honour to have such a close and enduring relationship with Russia’s second city.

Our ties with the people of St Petersburg are strong and the friendship has stood the test of time. When you have been friends for so long – whether it be a person or a city – it gives you the right to point out when your friend is doing something wrong.

This bill is simply wrong. It is bad for LGBT people living in the city, and it is bad for St Petersburg’s reputation across the globe. This trip gives us the opportunity to make this point clearly at the highest level in St Petersburg – before it is too late. We will urge the governor to veto this ill-conceived piece of legislation.

Manchester has a deserved reputation as one of the most tolerant and open cities in the world. That has done our city nothing but good. It encourages tourism and investment; it means that people come to Manchester to make our city their home. It aids cohesion and brings all of our communities closer together. We’re rightly proud of our gay rights record and hope the governor will listen to us and reject this dreadful piece of legislation.

Our message is simple – equality is not something anyone should fear.”

The St. Petersburg city parliament passed the censorship bill last month with 29 deputies voting in favor, five voting against the bill, and one abstaining (15 deputies did not vote).

The St Petersburg law is designed to prevent the “propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism and transgenderism”. The legislation includes a ban on LGBT-positive messages in public and would serve to virtually ban gay pride events.

For breaking this law there is a fine of 5,000 rubles ($170) for individuals, and for officials 50,000 rubles ($1,725). The fine for legal entities is 500,000 rubles ($17,250).

LGBT rights organizations have condemned the move, while the EU previously issued a resolution “strongly” condemning Russia for its various local laws that have targeted LGBTs.


Related stories:

Moscow Now Proposing Anti-Gay Law

Russian Gay Activist Attacked While Police Look On

Russian Politicians Ban “Gay Propaganda,” Hire Trans Prostitutes


Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to GusEds.


Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin5 years ago

Russia was the first country in the world to legalize homosexuality. It happened after the revolution in 1917. Then came Lenin and crushed everything and everyone...

Eternal Gardener
Eternal G5 years ago

Hopefully they act on that appeal....

Andrew Carvin
Andrew Carvin5 years ago

I made a video about why Homosexuals should have equal rights.

Watch it, share it, and join the fight against the evil Homophobes.

Beth M.
Beth M5 years ago

Hopefully it works.

James Campbell
James Campbell5 years ago

I spent part of my post-graduate studies at Manchester University. I am no fan of cities, but Manchester is great place to work and the people (a mixture of Lancastrians and others from around the UK and almost every country on earth) are kind, generous and great company. I am not gay, but I have spent many happy times in the Gay village in Manchester with friends. I am glad that Manchester is twinned with St Petersburg, for if the down-to-earth, straight talking Mancunians cannot persuade the Russian officials of the city to legislate against this abuse of human rights, no one can.

As for simply sending an e-mail, what use would that be when any discussion of this type of subject must be conducted in the actual presence of the person one is talking with? It must be immediate and two-way, face to face & without the problems of a video cam affected by a poor connection. Being in the same space allows for clarity of facial gestures enhanced by camaraderie, all geared to the type of communication that the Russians will appreciate, especially from old friends. You cannot achieve this in an e-mail. In fact, e-mail is one of the worst ways to convey emotion and ideas accurately as it is totally dependent on the printed word and/or image.

Cathy C.
Cathy C5 years ago


Marilyn L.
Marilyn L5 years ago

Lydia P thanks you said it all.

Renata Goulart
Renata Goulart5 years ago

My pity to the stupid person who could think about something like this.

Patrick F.
Patrick f5 years ago

Appeals to? Rubbish, you can't "appeal" to Zaputas

Karen and Ed O.
Karen and Ed O5 years ago

This is such a shame. St. Petersburg was such a vital, beautiful city when we were there. It makes me sad to think the citizens have to live under these kinds of restrictions. Do the right thing, folks, get rid of this law.

Tim R.

Sometimes it makes a great difference to talk to people, face to face. This is why a good police officer never tells the relatives of a murder victim the news over the phone.
We are getting too used to being able to just sit down and write a message. Some things deserve a personal touch.