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To Protest Russia's New Anti-Gay Laws, Gay Bars Boycott One Of Their Favorite Things

  • World
  • 07.31.13 10:23 AM EDT

A new boycott is focused on something close to the gay community's heart: Stoli. In response to Russia's intensifying crackdown on gay rights, a new campaign in gay bars around America is calling for a boycott on Russian vodka. 

It started, like so many things, as a plea from Dan Savage, the sex columnist who writes Savage Love and whose pleas have a habit of taking off: he brought the world the "It Gets Better" campaign and is behind the less flattering definition of Rick Santorum's surname, among other things. 

Savage's latest project is calling for a gay bar ban on Russian vodka to protest that country's abysmal treatment of gay men and women. Putin's anti-gay policies are nothing new, but they've recently come into sharper focus. Last month, Putin signed a law banning "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations," which would include gay pride events and providing information about gay relationships to kids. 

and with the 2014 Sochi Olympics looming on the horizon, they're getting more attention than ever. 

 New York Times editorial this weekend didn't mince words, beginning like this: 

"To the long list of Russians whom President Vladimir Putin is persecuting, add gay people and those who support gay rights."

A number of other items on that 'long list' have also been getting their fair share of publicity recently: Members of imprisoned punk band and political activist group Pussy Riot were recently denied parole, and political dissident and candidate for mayor of Moscow Alexei Navalny was recently imprisoned, then released, on what many saw as trumped up charges.