St. Petersburg authorities revoked their permission to hold an event in support of civil rights for Russia’s gay and transsexual community on July 7, a spokesperson for the St. Petersburg governor said on Thursday.
“The goal of the action is to attract the attention of the public and the authorities to violations of civil rights of LGBT community and to the need to pass legislation prohibiting discrimination over sexual orientation. But according to information in media, the organizers of the event plan to hold the third gay pride parade in St. Petersburg,” the city committee on law and security said in a statement.
According to the authorities, residents of the city consider this information “aimed at promoting homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender practices among minors.” That is why the permission has been revoked; authorities received “many phone calls and e-mails both from St. Petersburg and other Russian cities with requests to cancel the gay pride parade.”
LGBT activist Yuri Gavrikov said on Wednesday that the St. Petersburg City Hall had authorized an LGBT protest march and a rally on July 7 at the Polyustrovo Park away from the city center.
St. Petersburg’s Legislative Assembly passed the law penalizing "the propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia among minors” in late February. It came into effect on March 11.
The so-called Gay Propaganda law imposes fines of up to $16,000 on individuals and up to $160,000 on legal entities for the promotion of homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender practices among minors. The new legislation outlaws Gay Pride events.
The law has caused a divided reaction among Russians, where anti-gay sentiment remains strong. Russian LGBT groups have requested support in the West against the law that made the "promotion of homosexuality" an administrative offense.
The influential Russian Orthodox Church has backed the law.