BRITISH COLUMBIA

Anti-Gay Law Prompts B.C. Pub To Ban Russian Vodka

07/26/2013 12:29 EDT | Updated 09/24/2013 05:12 EDT
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Moscow, RUSSIAN FEDERATION: A visitor passes a wooden bottle of Stolichnaya vodka, a creation of artist Leonid Sokov displayed at the 'Russian pop-art' exhibition in new Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, 16 September 2005. AFP PHOTO / YURI KADOBNOV (Photo credit should read YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)
A pub in Vancouver's West End is refusing to serve vodka from Russia after the country passed a new law that prohibits people from providing information about "non-traditional" sexual relationships to minors.

Stolichnaya and Russian Standard vodka are just two brands of Russian drinks the Fountainhead Pub no longer serves. The pub's manager Andrew Wattling says it’s a reaction to the new law passed by the Russian parliament.

The bill has sparked controversy and drawn condemnation from human rights organizations like Amnesty International, which called the law "an affront to basic human rights." Provisions in the new law reportedly allow police to arrest tourists or foreign nationals suspected of being gay or even pro-gay.

Wattling says it is important to protest the new law. The pub is a popular spot with the city's GLBT community.

"Not doing anything is almost agreeing with it. So silence is acceptance, and you know, we can all just sit back and not do something," says Wattling.

"This is one small tiny thing that we can do to sort of stand up and support LGBT communities in Russia and worldwide."

Today in Vancouver, federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was asked if Canada should boycott next year's Olympics to demand equality.

"I'd like to think there are other ways of putting pressure on Russia and other ways of doing it," said Trudeau.

Other bars in Seattle and Chicago have already announced similar bans. Wattling says the Fountainhead Pub is hoping others will follow their lead.

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