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New York Elected Officials Call on Obama to Spurn Putin Over Anti-Gay Oppression

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A group of nine LGBT elected officials from New York including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and state Senator Brad Hoylman is urging President Obama to speak out on behalf of the LGBT community and refuse to make a diplomatic trip to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, reminding him of the "gay rights are human rights" memo issued by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

PutinSays the letter in part:

Given that President Putin and Russia have enacted laws to criminalize gay people and supporters and deny human rights to their LGBT citizens, they should not be the beneficiary of any trip by your office until they fully restore all civil rights to LGBT people in their country. Recent actions taken by the Russian government have led LGBT citizens to face not only a society that is intolerant of their basic civil rights, but also a country that would imprison them for declaring support for their own fundamental rights as humans. This has promoted an atmosphere of hate where gay people fear for their own lives and safety.

Read the full text of the letter below:

Hon. Barack H. Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

We write as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) elected officials from New York City in anticipation of your deciding whether to continue or cancel plans for an upcoming diplomatic trip to Russia to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. While you are considering whether to cancel that trip in light of Russia's decision to give asylum to Edward Snowden, we also urge you to consider the country's horrendous treatment of members of the LGBT community and its clear human rights abuses aimed at our community. Russia has become a country that persecutes anyone who might be LGBT or supports gay rights.

As then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on behalf of your administration, “Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights. It should never be a crime to be gay.” Given that President Putin and Russia have enacted laws
to criminalize gay people and supporters and deny human rights to their LGBT citizens, they should not be the beneficiary of any trip by your office until they fully restore all civil rights to LGBT people in their country. Recent actions taken by the Russian government have led LGBT citizens to face not only a society that is intolerant of their basic civil rights, but also a country that would imprison them for declaring support for their own fundamental rights as humans. This has promoted an atmosphere of hate where gay people fear for their own lives and safety. Police are allowed to arrest foreigners who are considered gay or pro-gay and detain them for up to 14 days. Under their new law, as a pro-gay supporter even you could be subject to arrest and imprisonment while in Russia.

Mr. President, you will remember that in December 2011 the White House released a presidential memorandum directing executive officers and agencies that deal in foreign affairs to address human rights abuses against LGBT people abroad and to pressure foreign governments to decriminalize homosexuality. Now it is time for you and your administration to directly act on this memorandum. The LGBT community and its allies in Russia are under attack and the victims of
clear human rights abuses. We urge you to stand in solidarity with us. Refuse any diplomatic mission to Russia until President Putin stops these abuses now and agrees to make Russia a country that proudly supports its LGBT community and its allies worldwide.

We expect nothing less.

Sincerely,
Christine C. Quinn
Brad Hoylman
Deborah J. Glick
Matthew Titone
Daniel J. O’Donnell
Micah Kellner
Jimmy Van Bramer
Rosie Mendez
Daniel Dromm

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Comments

  1. It seems to me a face-to-face meeting would be a good opportunity to address the issue. Isn't that what diplomatic summits are for?

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | Aug 6, 2013 10:04:39 AM


  2. Instead of Obama canceling, go to Russia. Publicly voice his opposition toward Russia's policy. What will they do? Arrest him!?

    Posted by: Mark | Aug 6, 2013 10:17:06 AM


  3. @mark

    Brilliant. At first I was going to flame your post, but then it totally got me thinking...

    ...Sheer Brilliance!

    Posted by: dean | Aug 6, 2013 3:04:00 PM


  4. Are they concerned about the increase in gay bashing in their own state? That's not as impressive on a political resume.

    Posted by: Useless | Aug 16, 2013 6:23:21 PM


  5. Letters just don't have the power they once did, but don't tell the writers. I guess they are more effective than live action sex videos.

    Posted by: Dan | Aug 16, 2013 6:25:41 PM


  6. Letters just don't have the power they once did, but don't tell the writers. I guess they are more effective than live action sex videos.

    Posted by: Dan | Aug 16, 2013 6:25:44 PM


  7. I heard Syria is going to use Homosexual Muslims as human shields to keep Obama from striking! Obama response? "I could have been one of those human shields just 6 years ago!"

    Posted by: Wha? | Sep 3, 2013 7:28:31 AM


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