Gay groups around the world have joined forces to launch a boycott of Romanian wine in protest at the country’s antigay laws. The boycott has been called by OutRage! and the International Lesbian and Gay Association.
The boycott has been called in response to the Romanian government’s decision to break its promise, given to the Council of Europe in 1993, to decriminalise homosexuality. The proposed new criminal code threatens to maintain prison sentences of between one and five years for private consensual homosexual acts. The new code could also ban gay bars, clubs, help lines, organisations, support services, and media, with prison sentences of up to five years for those who break the law.
The new law defines lesbian and gay sex as illegal if it causes “a public scandal”. Human rights groups in Romania have been told that any homosexual relationship that two or more people find offensive will be considered to have caused “a public scandal”. This means that any lesbian or gay relationship would be a criminal offence if two or more people were offended by it: thereby giving homophobes a free hand to render any and all homosexual relationships illegal.
Romanian wine is the country’s most visible consumer export, with total annual sales of 25 million litres. One company, Vinexport, accounts for 80% of all exports. ILGA plans to focus the campaignin the main export markets of Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Canada, Holland, Israel, Australia, Switzerland, and Poland.