Milan Severs Sister City Ties with St Petersburg Over Gay Rights
By Jerry Portwood
Twinned since 1967, it was only a matter of time until the sister cities began fighting. The Italian fashion capital of Milan is freezing all its ties with St. Petersburg after the Russian city introduced a law forbidding the “propaganda of homosexuality” among minors, reports RT (Russia Today). According to The Daily Telegraph, Milanese city officials will no longer coordinate cultural activities with St. Petersburg until the law is revoked. Italian activists called the law “an unacceptable wound to the Russian cultural capital.”
But local member of parliament and author of the anti-gay law Vitaly Milonov seems to give zero fucks. “There must be a lot of socialists in Milan city council,” Milonov told RIA Novosti. “It’s a great shame that a city like Milan would take a decision like this.” In an interview earlier this year, Milonov said, “As a person who dares to call himself a Christian politician, I cannot be a hypocrite. I cannot be Christian at church, without being one at work, as well.”
Milanese leaders are urging Italian cousins Venice and Turin to follow suit, both of which have cultural and political ties to St. Petersburg. Milonov anticipates the same of other European cities, saying, “Of course, it’s hard for many of our European colleagues to accept our law, as many of them are members of the gay lobby.”
Discrimination against the gay community is strong in Russia: Milonov’s law has been adopted by four other Russian regions, has found large grassroots support, and is fortified by the Russian Orthodox Church. Madonna was prosecuted in absentia by speaking out against the measure at a concert in August, although she was acquitted.
-- Matthew Ortile