Petition calls for Manchester to cut cultural ties with St Petersburg over anti-gay laws

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A petition has been started to have Manchester City Council cut its cultural ties with Russian city St Petersburg, over recently passed anti-gay legislation in Russia.

The petition calls for the council to cut its ties with the Russian city, as “it is now no longer appropriate”, for the two cities to be linked.

It reads: “Instead of twinning the two cities, links should be established between the gay community in Manchester and the gay community in St. Petersburg as a sign of solidarity and that, perhaps, Manchester City Council could help to facilitate this.”

The upper house of the Russian Parliament voted last month to approve both a bill banning adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples and the nationwide anti-”propaganda” bill banning the promotion of “non-traditional” relationships to minors.

The bills, which have since been signed by President Vladimir Putin, bans foreign same-sex couples and unmarried individuals in countries where same-sex marriage is legal from adopting Russian children.

The Italian city of Venice has already broken its cultural partnership with Russian city, St Petersburg, over a city-wide anti-gay law which was brought in over a year ago.

In November, the Venice Municipal Council was considering ending its partnership with St Petersburg over the latter’s anti-gay law.

Last week, the mayor of Iceland’s capital city Reykjavic, Jon Gnarr, said he wants to cut cultural and political ties between Moscow and his city over the recent passage of anti-gay legislation in Russia.

In November, speaking out against anti-equal marriage protesters in Paris, Mr Gnarr said: “Homophobia is not a phobia. They are not scared. They are just a bunch of assholes.”

Last week, speaking exclusively to PinkNews, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg urged Russia to protect the rights of LGBT citizens following concerns about gay athletes and spectators attending the 2014 Winter Olympics.