Petitioning Mayor of Helsinki, Finland Hon. Jussi Pajunen and 14 others

Sister Cities of St. Petersburg, Russia: Suspend "Sister City" Status Until Anti-Gay Law is Repealed


What do Los Angeles and St. Petersburg, Florida have in common? They, along with several other cities around the globe, are Sister Cities to St. Petersburg, Russia -- one of the most homophobic cities in the world.

The city of St. Petersburg passed a law last year that makes it a crime to show any kind of public support for LGBT equality, which it calls "gay propaganda." Under the law, you can't even mention the word "gay!" Violators can be fined up to 500,000 rubles or even thrown in jail for 15 days.

And just this month, St. Petersburg's malicious anti-gay law was exported to the rest of Russia: President Vladimir Putin signed a national "gay propaganda" ban on July 1.

St. Petersburg's "gay propaganda" law singles out a vulnerable minority group for persecution and legitimizes violence against LGBT people. World cities that value LGBT human rights have an obligation to suspend their Sister City relationships with St. Petersburg, as Venice and Milan have already done, until this unconscionable law is repealed.

It’s time to urge Los Angeles, St. Petersburg, Florida, and all St. Petersburg's Sister Cities to stand up for LGBT human rights, and send a loud and clear message to Russia: imprisoning and fining people because of their sexual orientation is not something that deserves to be rewarded with “Sister City” status.

Letter to
Mayor of Helsinki, Finland Hon. Jussi Pajunen
Governor, State of Maryland, USA Hon. Martin O'Malley
Mayor of Paris, France Hon. Bertrand Delanoë
and 12 others
Mayor of Antwerp, Belgium Hon. Bart De Wever
Mayor of Barcelona, Spain Hon. Xavier Trias
Mayor of Rotterdam, Netherlands Hon. Ahmed Aboutaleb
Mayor of Québec City, Québec, Canada Hon. Régis Labeaume
Mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida, USA Hon. Bill Foster
Mayor of Göteborg, Sweden Hon. Anneli Hulthén
Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Hon. Eduardo Paes
Lord Mayor of Manchester, United Kingdom Rt. Hon. Elaine Boyes
Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Australia Rt. Hon. Robert Doyle
Mayor of Hamburg, Germany Hon. Dr. Dorothee Stapelfeldt
Mayor of Stockholm, Sweden Hon. Sten Nordin
Mayor of Los Angeles, California, USA Hon. Antonio Villaraigosa
I am writing to you today to ask you to suspend your municipality's "Sister City" relationship with St. Petersburg, Russia until that city stops persecuting gay people.

The city of St. Petersburg passed a law last year that makes it a crime to show any kind of public support for LGBT equality, which it calls "gay propaganda." Under the law, you can't even mention the word "gay!" Violators can be fined up to 500,000 rubles or even thrown in jail for 15 days.

And just this month, St. Petersburg's malicious anti-gay law was exported to the rest of Russia: President Vladimir Putin signed a national "gay propaganda" ban on July 1.

St. Petersburg's "gay propaganda" law singles out a vulnerable minority group for persecution and legitimizes violence against LGBT people.

Municipalities that value LGBT human rights have an obligation to suspend their Sister City relationships with St. Petersburg, as Venice and Milan have already done, until this terrible law is repealed. If yours is such a municipality, I urge you to take this important step as soon as possible.