A boycott of Russian-made vodka is growing in the United States and internationally in response to anti-gay policies of that nation.
Activists poured vodka on the streets of New York City this week to protest Russian laws that target homosexuals, and numerous gay bar owners stopped selling Russian vodka, Reuters said
CNN reported that a new Russian law banning any discussion of “nontraditional sexual relations”
around minors is pushing the boycott. Rights groups said the law is discriminatory and could effectively shut out rallies and other gay rights events.
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While some have called on the international community to boycott the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, most are focusing on boycotting Russian vodka.
Dan Savage, a syndicated columnist, started a “Dump Russian Vodka” campaign, CNN said.
The CEO of Stolichnaya, a popular Russian vodka, quickly spoke out as saying the company supported LGBT rights
, and CNN reported that a “rainbow block of text boasting that the brand ‘stands strong and proud with the global LGBT community against the attitude and actions of the Russian Government’ now dominates the Stoli homepage.”
In the letter, CEO Val Mendeleev said, “We fully support and endorse your objectives to fight against prejudice in Russia. In the past decade, SPI has been actively advocating in favor of freedom, tolerance and openness in society, standing very passionately on the side of the LGBT community.”
The Human Rights Watch organization said the new law that infringes on people’s rights to free speech should also be considered in light of increased attacks in Russia on LGBT community members and gay rights activists, CNN reports.
Reuters reported that a May death of a 23-year-old man was found by Russian investigators to have occurred after the man told a friend he was gay. The man was tortured before being killed.
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