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Gay rights activists plan protest outside NYSE in response to ‘Russia Day’

Gay rights activists plan protest outside NYSE in response to ‘Russia Day’

NEW YORK — In the latest in a series of ongoing, high-profile demonstrations against the Russian government’s anti-gay laws, activist group Queer Nation will protest outside the New York Stock Exchange Monday while Russian government officials at the Exchange ring the closing bell.


Monday is “Russia Day” at the NYSE, an event designed will promote investment in Russia. The day is sponsored by the stock exchange, several Russian companies, and Cleary Gottlieb, a U.S. law firm. Sergey Belyakov, Russia’s deputy economics minister, has been selected to ring the closing bell.

“It’s outrageous that the Stock Exchange invited representatives from the Russian government to ring the closing bell,” said Alexis Danzig of Queer Nation member.

“The Exchange is now complicit with the Russian government’s violence and attacks against LGBT Russians, political dissidents, and undocumented immigrants,” she continued. “The members of the Stock Exchange should be encouraging divestment, not investment, in Russian assets,” he said.

In response to pressure by activists, including Queer Nation, Goodwin Procter, LLP, a U.S. law firm; James R. Silkenat, the president of the American Bar Association; and the Office of the Mayor of the City of New York all ended their association with a separate forum promoting U.S. investment in Russia that was to be held at the Midtown offices of Goodwin Procter, also on November 18.

In June, Russia enacted an anti-gay “propaganda” law that prohibits distribution of any information that could influence minors that “nontraditional sexual relationships” are “socially equivalent to traditional relationships.”

The law criminalizes public displays of affection between same-sex couples, and foreigners breaking this law, such as those visiting Russia for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, could face arrest for up to 15 days followed by deportation.

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Russia also enacted a law this summer that prohibits LGBT Russians from adopting children and prohibits adoptions by single foreigners from countries that recognize marriage equality.

In September, a Russian lawmaker introduced legislation that would allow courts to take children away from parents who are LGBT or are suspected of being LGBT, although that bill is currently on hold.

Critics point to the laws as the catalyst for a recent wave of anti-LGBT violence throughout the county.

The demonstration at the Stock Exchange follows recent Queer Nation actions at Times Square, Carnegie Hall, and during the Metropolitan Opera’s Opening Night Gala.

Monday’s protest will take place at 3:15 p.m. EST, in front of the Federal Hall at 26 Wall Street in Manhattan.

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