Russia to arrest openly gay tourists?

A new law in Russia will allow the government to arrest and detain gay or "pro-gay" tourists, leading to concerns over tourism and the 2014 Winter Olympics

by The Commentator on 12 July 2013 13:50


Canadian travel magazine 'Travel and Escape' is reporting that an anti-gay law recently passed in Russia may result in the arrest of 'openly gay' tourists to the country. It says, "It is now outlawed to be ‘out and proud'" in the former Soviet power.

The report calls the move "a throwback to the country’s authoritarian ruling", with Russian president Vladimir Putin signing a controversial law that punishes people for “homosexual propaganda.” The law fines people—including tourists—up to 200,000 rubles (£4,040 GBP) for “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.”

Apparently, anything from gay-affirmative speech to hand-holding; even displaying a rainbow flag on your backpack is reportedly illegal. Recently in southern Russia, there were complaints that Elton John’s stage outfits fell under “gay propaganda.”

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.”

The new laws will undoubtedly impact tourism and the upcoming 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. LGBT visitors—or anyone who embraces the gay community—may no longer want to visit the games. 

Travel site Skift reports that the new law contains a provision that allows the Russian government to arrest and detain gay (or "pro-gay") foreigners for up to 14 days before they would then be expelled from Russia.

A number of celebrities, The Huffington Post reports, including Madonna and Lady Gaga, have sparked controversy by speaking out on behalf of Russia's beleaguered LGBT community over the past year.

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