German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has warned Russia’s ambassador that the new homophobic legislation could aggravate European-Russian relations.
Russia is currently seeking to ban “homosexual propaganda” throughout the country with a bill that has already been given approval after a first reading in the country’s parliament. Previously, such legislation had only been on the books in St. Petersburg and other, mostly smaller cities.
The legislative effort has sparked outrage in Western countries, and now German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has also entered the fray. Westerwelle, who has been openly gay for years, is married to his long-time partner Michael Mronz.
On Monday afternoon, the 51-year-old foreign minister held a meeting with Russian Ambassador to Germany Vladimir Grinin at the Foreign Ministry in Berlin.
A source close to the issue told Spiegel Online that the politician, a member of the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP), addressed the new legislation with his guest.
In a move unusual of diplomats, Westerwelle was reportedly very upfront about his opinion of the matter. In the discussion, he conveyed that the bill, from the German point of view, is in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.
It is reported that he also added that the legislation would aggravate European-Russian relations and would damage Russia’s image in Europe.