It's one of the most homophobic cities in the world, with laws that ban any kind of public support for LGBT equality -- yet Melbourne is still an official "Sister City" with St. Petersburg in Russia despite their harsh new anti-gay laws.
It's now illegal to even mention the word "gay" in public in St. Petersburg. If you do, you can be jailed for 15 days or fined 500,000 rubles. The laws enacted last year actively discriminate against LGBT people and legitimize violence against them.
Several of my Russian friends have spoken of the fear they feel when they leave their homes in St Petersberg and how such laws have been the fuel for hate and violence directed to their gay and lesbian friends.
This isn't the kind of city that I think Melbourne stands for. But by keeping St. Petersburg as an official Sister City, it's giving credibility to these vicious anti-gay laws.
Finally there's something real we can do to help our friends in Russia fight against these disgusting laws. Help me call on Robert Doyle to do the right thing and suspend St. Petersburg as an official "Sister City" of Melbourne until these anti-gay laws are repealed.
Momentum is building in other Sister Cities to do the same too -- Milan has just dumped them and petitions are getting going in Florida, Paris, Barcelona and others. We can send a clear message from around the world: we won't stand for these anti-gay laws any longer.
Please sign my petition and share with friends and family.
Thanks for your help.