- (Photo: Screen Grab via YouTube/gazetaru)
A Russian politician whose legislative efforts have led to recently passed antigay legislation had his church fire-bombed by unknown assailants.
According to the Russia & India Report, two masked attackers threw Molotov cocktails at The Church of Holy Peter the Metropolitan Bishop of Moscow on Sunday evening. The Muscovite church is where Vitaly Milonov, St Petersburg municipal deputy, volunteers as an altar server.
On Twitter, Milonov blamed "scum" for the attack, which inflicted minor damage on the church, and vowed to "find them and destroy them."
Milonov made international headlines for his sponsoring of a measure for St. Petersburg that would ban "gay propaganda." Milonov's work would inspire Yelena Mizulina, head of the Russian State Duma's Committee for Family, Women, and Children, to craft a federal version.
Over the past year, Russia's federal legislature has overwhelmingly passed bills that critics say dangerously curb the rights of the nation's LGBT community. President Vladimir Putin has signed into law bills that ban gay adoption and the dissemination of pro-gay literature to children. Putin also reportedly approved a measure that would allow police to arrest tourists and foreign nationals suspected of spreading homosexual views during the Winter Olympics.
In response, LGBT activists in the United States and elsewhere have called for a boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics and for other international action to curb the anti-gay measures.
On the website White House Petitions, one petition has called for putting Milonov and Mizulina on a "visa ban list."
"The Secretary of State can place both Ms. Mizulina and Mr. Milonov on the visa ban list under his own authority and we respectfully request that the President direct Secretary of State Kerry to do so," reads the petition.
To guarantee an official response, a petition on the White House website must garner at least 100,000 signatures within thirty days of being posted. As of Tuesday the visa ban list petition has a little over 8,700 names, more than 90,000 less than it needs to have by next Sunday.
In a statement made earlier this month President Barack Obama voiced opposition to boycotting the upcoming Olympics.
"We have got a bunch of Americans who are training hard, who are doing everything they can to succeed," said President Obama. "One of the things I am looking forward to is maybe some gay or lesbian athletes bringing home the gold, silver or bronze. If Russia doesn't have gay or lesbian athletes, it will probably make their team weaker."
According to the RI Report, local police presently suspect the atheistic political organization Left Front for the fire-bombing.