Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Obama Denounces Russia's Anti-Gay "Propaganda" Law

The President appeared on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night and made some news when he was asked about tensions with Russia. He commented on the current controversy about Russia's anti-gay propaganda law and the implications for the presence of LGBT athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The law subjects anyone who makes public statements in support of LGBT equality on Russian soil liable to hefty fines and time in jail.

LGBT Think Progress has the relevant transcript:
OBAMA: I’ve been very clear that when it comes to universal rights, when it comes to people’s basic freedoms, that whether you are discriminating on the basis of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation, you are violating the basic morality that I think should transcend every country. And I have no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.
Now, what’s happening in Russia is not unique. When I traveled to Africa, there were some countries that are doing a lot of good things for their people, who we’re working with and helping on development issues, but in some cases have persecuted gays and lesbians. And it makes for some uncomfortable press conferences sometimes. But one of the things that I think is very important for me to speak out on is making sure that people are treated fairly and justly, because that’s what we stand for. And I believe that that’s a precept that’s not unique to America, that’s something that should apply everywhere.
It is good that President Obama has spoken out about Russia's homophobic law; this makes it clear that such policies are well outside of the expected norms of behavior by civilized countries.

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