Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Stand-Up Guy in St. Petersburg


St. Petersburg's new anti-gay law is being tested—by a straight man.

Outside a theater in the Russian city, Sergey Kondrashov held up a sign reading, "A dear family friend is lesbian.  My wife and I love and respect her . . . and her family is just as equal as ours."

What it lacked in pithiness it made up in heart.

Along with Igor Konshetkov, a gay man who also held a sign, Kondrashov was arrested for violating St. Petersburg's shiny new ban on gay propaganda.

What is a ban on gay propaganda?  Damned if I know.  I read news accounts when the law was being considered that hedged and hinted at what a ban would entail.  No more Prides seemed to be the only certainty.  Did all this nebulousness surrounding the proposed law stop St. Petersburg politicians from passing it?  Not on your (Russian) nelly.

The Advocate reported that Kondrashov said confusion about how to define the law marked his detention, and the judge in his hearing noted it was a tall order to wrangle a legal decision from such a vaguely written law.

Himself a lawyer, Kondrashov expects the case to drag on as long as a Russian novel.

Asked why, as a straight guy, he protested the law, Kondrashov gave two reasons.  He said the law violates his rights granted by the Constitution of the Russian Federation.  The other reason "is that a friend of mine is a lesbian and I felt that I had a moral obligation to her."

Lucky gal.