Human rights activists target Russian anti-gay law at G20 protests

Police disrupt a protest in advance of the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia. Photo Credit: Valentine Egorshin, via Flickr. Licensed CC.
Police disrupt a protest in advance of the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Photo Credit: Valentine Egorshin, via Flickr. Licensed CC.

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Spaced out along St. Petersburg’s main thoroughfare, about a dozen human rights activists staged individual protests to attract the attention of leaders of the world’s biggest economies to human rights violations in Russia.

Activist Iosiph Skakovsky said they held individual protests because mass protests are often banned or disrupted by police.

Activist Natalya Tsymbalova was protesting “discrimination of sexual minorities, falsification of elections, pressure on NGOs, violation of the freedom of public assembly.”

Her handmade poster said that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim that gays are not discriminated against was a lie. “There is discrimination. Speak out for Russia!”

Police checked the documents of individual protesters but did not interfere in their actions.

On Sept. 4, a dozen art workers from the Muzei Vlasti tried to stage a protest in front of Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg and took out the artwork by Russian artist Konstantin Altunin to unfold it for passers-by in downtown St. Petersburg, but police withdrew it.

The recently enacted law banning homosexual “propaganda” makes it illegal to expose minors to information that portrays “nontraditional sexual relations” as normal or attractive. Authors of the bill have justified it as a measure aimed at protecting children and not suppressing the LGBT community.

Recently, a Russian lawmaker proposed a bill that would deny gay parents custody over their children.

— LGBTQ Nation

San Antonio approves ordinance

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — City leaders on Sept. 5 approved a far-reaching anti-discrimination ordinance, protecting LGBT residents in a variety of ways, including employment and public accommodations.

Despite loud opposition from some San Antonio council members and the Texas Republican Party, the measure passed overwhelmingly, 8-3. The new ordinance prohibits discrimination by council members in their official capacity, prohibits discrimination among most city contractors and also provides for public accommodations protections at restaurants and hotels.

Opponents said the new ordinance would stifle religious freedom. San Antonio City Councilmember Elisa Chan had earlier been caught on tape calling homosexuality “disgusting.” She also said gays should be prohibited from adopting children. She has defended her remarks.

“Just because I disagree with the lifestyle of the LGBT community doesn’t mean I dislike them,” Chan said before the vote. “Similarly, just because one opposes this ordinance, does not mean one is for discrimination.”

Read more at bit.ly/15C6wmV.

— LGBTQ Nation

Quick Hits

Under an arcane and rarely-enforced law, Wisconsin same-sex couples could face jail and other punishments for marrying in marriage equality states.
more: bit.ly/15HpXe2

Depsite a statewide ban on same-sex marriage, the Virginia National Guard is following directives from the U.S. Department of Defense and will begin offering benefits to legally married same-sex couples. Texas and Louisiana have refused to offer benefits on state-owned bases, though Alabama has said it will comply with the new rules.
more: bit.ly/1fJGsVJ

The nation’s oldest LGBT bookstore, Philadelphia’s Giovanni’s Room, is up for sale. Seventy-three-year-old owner Ed Hermance has said he hopes to find a buyer who will maintain the store’s historic place and purpose.
more: bit.ly/14rpMT2

Same-sex couples in the Mexican state of Chihuahua have won the right to marry. A district judge there has ruled in favor of a couple who was denied a marriage license in April. Last year, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages must be recognized across the country. Several states have yet to fully comply. Mexico City began issuing licenses to same-sex couples in 2010.
more: bit.ly/1aoJDVJ

A Brazilian court has ordered the nation’s army to recognize a same-sex civil union between a sergeant and his partner. The ruling comes from a judge in the nation’s northeastern state, Pernambuco. In 2011, Brazil’s Supreme Court legalized same-sex civil unions.
more: bit.ly/13ppgzf

— Compiled by staff from LGBTQ Nation. LGBTQ Nation and qnotes are media partners.

info: Have news or other information? Send your press releases and updates for inclusion in our News Notes: editor@goqnotes.com.

Share your news with us
Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to specialassignments@goqnotes.com. In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.