Russia Says It Will Arrest Openly Gay Tourists
Thinking of taking a vacation to Europe this summer? If a trip to iconic city of Moscow or the edgier St. Petersburg is on your bucket list, an anti-gay law recently passed in Russia may have you thinking again. It is now outlawed to be ‘out and proud.’
In a throwback to the country’s authoritarian ruling, Russian president Vladimir Putin has signed a controversial law that punishes people for “homosexual propaganda.” The law fines people—including tourists—up to 200,000 rubles ($6,240 CDN) for “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.” For Canadians—where same-sex marriage is legal—it is unfathomable that Russia’s laws permit the government to arrest and detain gay, or pro-gay, foreigners for up to 14 days before they would then be expelled from the country.
According to Voice of Russia, any display of affection between same-sex couples could cause a “distorted understanding” that gay relations and heterosexual relations are socially equivalent, and risk spreading Western liberalism. Putin claims the law doesn’t discriminate against LGBT people, but rather—in an argument riddled with faulty logic—is there to “protect children from pedophilia.”
And how are these new laws going to impact tourism and the world’s spotlight on the upcoming 2014 Winter Games in Sochi? Will LGBT visitors—or anyone who embraces the gay community—want to visit the games? While Russia’s laws stigmatize and target the gay community, Brazil’s Ministry of Tourism is working to encourage the LGBT community to visit. Brazil, which is hosting the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, as well as the 2014 World Cup.
If I were a gay Olympian and I won a medal you can bet I would wear a rainbow at the medal ceremony. Let the world watch Russia arrest an Olympic medalist.