Gay MPs unite to condemn Pride ban

A protester holds a rainbow flag outside the Houses of Parliament in central London on June 3, 2013, as protesters gather in support of same-sex marriage

Gay MPs from the three main political parties have written to the Mayor of Moscow to protest at the banning of this year’s Pride march.

Chris Bryant, Labour Member of Parliament for the Rhondda, has sent a joint letter with Conservative Nick Herbert and Liberal Democrat Stephen Williams calling on the mayor to repeal the ban on the Pride event, which is due to take place this weekend.

Mr Herbert is MP for Arundel and South Downs and Mr Williams represents Bristol West.

Mayor Luzhkov banned the Moscow Pride event planned for May last year.

Gay rights activist defied the ban, despite large numbers of vigilantes, tear gas and riot police.

27th May marks the 14th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Russia and the march is planned to start close to Moscow’s main Post Office at 3pm. This event has also been banned.

Mr Bryant told

“This letter has representatives from the three major partiers and outlines a widely felt position that in a democracy gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people should have every right to gather together, to express their identity and peacefully to demonstrate.

“Whilst we fully appreciate and respect both Mr Luzhkov’s constitutional rights as Mayor of Moscow and respect the traditions of Russia we believe that the right of people to freely associate is one of the very central tenants of democracy.

“Russia is a full signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights which asserts the duty of the State to protect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others.

“Furthermore the Universal Declaration of Human Rights similarly asserts the rights of all to the freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association.

“Bearing these facts in mind Nick Herbert MP, Stephen Williams MP and I have called on the Mayor of Moscow to allow the march to go ahead unimpeded and put aside any personal reservations he may have with regards to homosexuality.”

Earlier this week members of the European Parliament wrote to Mayor Luzhkov urging him to respect human rights and allow this weekend’s gay Pride parade to go ahead.

Last week city authorities in St Petersburg banned a gay parade from taking place.

Organisers said they will defy the ban and go ahead with a parade down the city’s main street, Nevsky Prospekt, tomorrow.

Russian pop duo t.A.T.u. have released a statement on their official website announcing they want to attend Moscow Pride.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has gone to Moscow to show his support for the Pride organisers.