WASHINGTON, November 15 (RIA Novosti) – An already besieged set of events intended to promote investment in the Russian economy has come under further pressure, as a US gay rights activist has launched a petition asking the New York Stock Exchange to cancel its upcoming Russia Day.
The NYSE describes Russia Day, due to take place Monday, as an opportunity for “executives to engage in strategic discussions with business peers, asset allocators and investors, and Russian government officials about the opportunities in doing business and investing in Russia today.”
But the petition posted to Change.org describes investment opportunities as less important than human rights and accuses the Russian government of “banning any gay-positive speech and tacitly encouraging violence against LGBT Russians.”
“American money should not be supporting a country that is terrorizing its gay community,” the petition states.
Activists have already scored three victories in their campaign against Russian Forum New York, which is running at the same time as Russia Day, The New Civil Rights Movement.com reported Thursday.
American Bar Association president James Silkenat was scheduled to give the keynote address but withdrew after coming under pressure from gay rights activists. The legal firm Goodwin Procter, which was also mentioned in the Change.org petition, has decided against hosting the event, leaving Queer Nation, the organizers of a scheduled protest, uncertain where it will take place.
The office of outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has also disavowed any association, although a “testimonial” from Mayor Michael Bloomberg remains on the Russia Forum website as of November 14.
Russian businesses and cultural figures have come under fire from gay rights activists since President Vladimir Putin signed a controversial law banning the promotion of “non-traditional” sexual relationships in July.
The Kremlin maintains that the new law is aimed at protecting children and does not prevent adults from making their own choices, but critics claim that the legislation is part of a much wider crackdown on homosexuality in Russia.