Reykjavik to terminate relations with Moscow over LGBT rights

gay flagReykjavik mayor Jón Gnarr has submitted a proposal to end relations with Moscow, following the Russian capital’s standpoint on homosexuality.

A new law signed by president Vladimir Putin last month, bans “homosexual propaganda”, which is punishable by fines of up to 5,000 rubles (€120) for citizens who disseminate information aimed at minors “directed at forming non-traditional sexual set-up” or which may cause a “distorted understanding” that gay and heterosexual relations are “socially equivalent”, the official publication of the bill showed.

The minutes from the City Council meeting last week read that “in light of the developments that have taken place in recent years in matters of gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Russia, the Human Rights Office and the Mayor’s Office have entrusted the deputy mayor to propose amendments to the existing agreement between the two cities or terminate it all together following consultation with the Foreign Ministry.”

Jón Gnarr’s proposal needs to be approved by the ministry of Foreign affairs. Urður Gunnarsdóttir, a spokesperson for the Ministry, told Mbl that “this is a very unusual situation, and I’m not sure anything like this has been done before.”

Urður believes that while it is the Ministry’s duty to analyse what effect the move would have on the relations between Russia and Iceland, the decision to break off relations between Reykjavik and Moscow lies within the City Council itself.

This is not the first time that mayor of Reykjavik, a long-standing advocate of gay rights, voices his concern over the treatment of homosexuals in Moscow. Last year, Jón Gnarr sent a letter to his Russian counterpart Sergey Sobyanin, asking him to reconsider his decision to ban the Moscow Gay Pride.

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