GAY MONTREALER DENIED INSURANCE REFUND AFTER CANCELLING TOUR TO RUSSIA DUE TO HOMOPHOBIC LAW
Montreal, September 11, 2013 --- After cancelling his trip to Russia due to that country's infamous law against “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations”, a gay Montrealer may have to sue his insurance company for denying him a reimbursement.
Considering himself Montreal's first casualty of Russia's homophobic law, K. David Brody, a gay Jewish senior and author of a gay novel, bought a trip to Russia with a female friend last June. In July, Russia's President signed into law a bill that effectively persecutes members of the LGBT community and their supporters. Under this law, foreigners can also be arrested, detained, fined and then expelled.
Fearing for his life, Mr. Brody cancelled his trip. He believes that he had no choice due to the clear and present danger Russia presented to his safety. Lufthansa, the airline company, accepts to reimburse most of the costs of the flight, less a penalty of $450, but the $1,000 which he paid for the land tour in Russia will not be refunded. The amount of his claim is $1,452.90.
The reason why La Capitale refused to provide him with a refund is that the federal government did not issue a formal advisory or warning to Canadians going to Russia. Foreign Affairs Canada only advises “a high degree of caution” about the new law. The insurance policy allows for refundable cancellation when the Canadian government issues a “warning.”
“Being openly proud of my Jewish and my gay identity, I will not deny, I will not pretend and I will not hide,” Mr. Brody said. “I have been actively involved in combating both anti-Semitism and homophobia for over 35 years in Montreal. Today, I cannot accept that my government and my insurance company refuse to recognize my right to life and my right to the security and integrity of the person.”
Mr. Brody believes that La Capitale can become a gay-positive company and not discriminate against LBGT persons, despite the absence of a federal travel advisory. “The travel industry should take concrete measures beyond warnings to help LGBT Canadians traveling to Russia, or any other country with official anti-gay laws, including changing its travel cancellation refund policy,” he added.
“We call on the Canadian government to issue a formal advisory or warning as soon as possible to prevent LGBT Canadians from suffering similar financial consequences of homophobia in foreign lands,” said CRARR's Executive Director Fo Niemi.
“Ottawa should also undertake all necessary measures to protect Canadian business people, workers, and students going to Russia. Our bilateral trade and cooperation with Russia is significant but Canadians should not be put at risk because of this law,” he concluded. According to Foreign Affairs Canada, in 2011, Canadian exports to Russia were $1.5 billion, making Russia Canada's 19th most important export market.
With CRARR's assistance, Mr. Brody is examining his legal options.
For information on Mr. Brody and his book: