My name is Sergey and I’m an attorney in Russia. I’m straight – happily married for 16 years – and until last week I would not have been called an “activist”. But in just five days I will got to court, fined and maybe even thrown in jail because I held up a banner in Saint Petersburg and told the truth:
“A dear family friend is lesbian. My wife and I love and respect her … and her family is just as equal as ours.”
I was among the first to be arrested, but thousands more could follow. As I write this, Russian officials are fast tracking a plan to extend Saint Petersburg’s “gay propaganda” law to the entire country.
I believe that it should never be illegal to defend the dignity of friends and family. Will you sign and share my urgent letter to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin asking him to denounce this law before my trial? He has the power to end this, but we have only a few days to build the massive outcry that will force him to pay attention:
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.
The world, and many of my fellow Russians, 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 our history when people were silenced – or worse – for speaking their mind. The law also breaks just about every international human rights treaty obligation that our country is a party to.
That’s why I’m appealing to the one person whose influence over the political process in Russia could help us annul this unconstitutional law in St. Petersburg, and make sure it isn’t rolled out nationwide – Prime Minister Putin. Sign now, then share my letter to the prime minister with everyone you can – let’s make sure he knows the whole world is watching:
Thanks for your support,
Independent lawyer in Saint-Petersburg
Arrests for Violation of St. Petersburg Anti-Gay Law
Arrests Under New Anti-Gay Law Continue
LGBT Russians stand up and speak out: “We will not be silenced!” (VIDEO)