Barbara Boxer | Gay Rights | News | Russia | Sochi Olympics | Vladimir Putin

Sen. Barbara Boxer Sends Letter to Vladimir Putin, Slams Russian Anti-Gay Laws

BoxerIn a letter sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) blasted Russia's anti-gay 'propaganda' ban and urged the country to repeal its laws and policies infringing upon the rights of LGBT individuals. Boxer, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee that oversees human rights, said Putin's anti-gay regime has become an "affront to fundamental principles of equality."

From the letter:

"I support a strong United States-Russia bilateral relationship and believe we must work to strengthen this important relationship whenever possible. However, I cannot stay silent while your country works to put in place deeply discriminatory laws and polices undermining the rights of LGBT individuals, which have already had tangible and dangerous consequences. I have been shocked by images of Russian LGBT individuals - including young men and women - being harassed threatened and severely beaten. If these laws and policies are not repealed, the consequences for human life and human dignity could get even worse.

Furthermore, I am deeply concerned about the significant detrimental impact of these laws on the Winter Olympic Games that Russia is scheduled to host next year. The United States - like many other countries - will be sending both LGBT athletes and spectators to the Games. I firmly expect Russia to support the Charter of the Olympic Games, which refers to sport as a human right that should be practiced without 'discrimination of any kind.' Any attempt at discrimination will be met with significant protest and will leave a dark stain on Russia's international image for decades to come."

Those protests, however, may hit a roadblock if Putin has his way. Earlier today, we reported on Putin issuing a decree banning all "meetings, rallies, demonstrations, marches and pickets" before and during the Sochi Olympics.  

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  1. A letter from her will surely change things.

    Posted by: DB | Aug 23, 2013 8:02:36 PM

  2. It will do more than a letter from you, DB.

    Posted by: Zlick | Aug 23, 2013 8:07:09 PM

  3. Good to see somebody stand up to this.

    Posted by: Tigerama | Aug 23, 2013 8:11:02 PM

  4. Silence gives consent.

    Posted by: AndyTowlette | Aug 23, 2013 8:13:26 PM

  5. Thank you Ms. Boxer.

    Posted by: greenfuzz | Aug 23, 2013 8:21:50 PM

  6. Boxer, like Pelosi, kept her mouth shut during the Prop 8 fiasco. I lost respect for both of them during that time.

    Posted by: CB | Aug 23, 2013 8:52:18 PM

  7. Boxer needs to do a lot more - she needs to step to the floor and call for a boycott. Sending a letter will be dismissed to the Russian trash.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Aug 23, 2013 8:57:01 PM

  8. Good for her!!

    I can't imagine anybody who had plans to go (athletes included), isn't disgusted beyond belief and the new "terrorist" law Putin issued today and still has any inkling to go, don't!

    Listen to your gut. You are not safe. The IOC will not protect you.

    Boycott everything Russia. It's not a party if no one shows up.

    Posted by: Will | Aug 23, 2013 9:07:57 PM

  9. Will: Boxer should send an e-mail. Snowden can intercept it. Cursive is out. Who said this was a party? Disgust "beyond belief?" Oh my! My "gut" says all will go off as usual. You can't function without something to fear can you? That's the underlying issue.

    Posted by: GB | Aug 23, 2013 9:53:41 PM

  10. @CB: not true. According to

    "The U.S. House Speaker, California Representative (8th District), Nancy Pelosi[99] along with other members of the California congressional delegation and both of California's U.S. senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, voiced their opposition to Proposition 8"

    The article cited (a bay area gay publication), which mentioned that Barbar Boxer had opposed Prop 8 a month before Feinstein did. There was a link for Pelosi to her web page, but that link no longer works (no surprise given that the issue is mute).

    Posted by: Bill | Aug 23, 2013 9:57:42 PM

  11. I think it's time for the Putin ice cream poster.

    Posted by: GB | Aug 23, 2013 10:06:48 PM

  12. Oh, tell us what you really feel, Barbara! What's Putin going to do when he gets her letter? Wipe his ass?

    Posted by: anon | Aug 23, 2013 10:36:56 PM

  13. Thanks, Barb!

    Posted by: Andy | Aug 23, 2013 10:39:00 PM

  14. @Bill, I should have been more specific. Sen. Dianne Feinstein made a commercial against Prop 8 (albeit only a couple weeks before the election), however, the other two very prominent Washington legislators Sen. Boxer and Speaker of the House Rep. Pelosi remained silent. They may have voiced some sort of support, through interviews, but when it came to full-fledged media support, especially in such a controversial measure, they remained out of the limelight.

    Posted by: CB | Aug 23, 2013 10:53:53 PM

  15. @CB: In 1996, Nancy Pelosi voted against DOMA, and has received a 100% rating from the HRC (see her wikipedia page). She issued a statement supporting the California Supreme Court's pre-Proposition-8 decision allowing same sex marriage and she issued statements opposing Proposition 8. She may have been in a similar position to Barbara Boxer regarding TV ads, but of course has a far smaller campaign budget than a senator.

    According to a 2008 article in The Advocate
    ( ): 'Boxer said she did not appear in TV ads that urged voters to vote no on Prop. 8, like fellow Californian U.S. senator Dianne Feinstein did, because she was not asked. “The campaign asked me to do certain things, send e-mails, do calls,” she said. “I did whatever they asked me. I would have done anything.”'

    Just because you saw a politician in a commercial does not mean they paid for it. The group opposing Proposition Eight was cash strapped for a while at a critical point before the election (I went to a fund raiser and heard that from people working on the campaign). By the time they caught up, it was late enough that they simply might not have had enough lead time to place ads for more than one prominent politician.

    Posted by: Bill | Aug 24, 2013 1:57:06 AM

  16. @CB: I just posted a comment and it apparently was lost. I'm not going to bother trying again, but will refer you to where she said she didn't produce a video because she wasn't asked to by the group running the campaign against Proposition Eight.

    Nancy Pelosi might have been in a similar situation.

    Keep in mind that none of them might have been able to pay for an ad directly - there are a series of complicated rules regarding what you can do with campaign contributions.

    Posted by: Bill | Aug 24, 2013 2:05:25 AM

  17. Hmmm. Now the first message I sent showed up but the second seems to have evaporated. Possibly the server is slow and is queuing the messages so you don't see an immediate indication of them being posted.

    Posted by: Bill | Aug 24, 2013 2:07:51 AM

  18. @BILL: all three of your messages show, in case you need confirmation of them having gone thru. Very interesting and cogent comment. I hope this helps.

    Posted by: Goodcarver | Aug 24, 2013 5:38:55 AM

  19. There's nothing better than watching Paid Trolls cower and flee when FACTS are presented to them.

    Take a hike, moron DB and Anon.

    You can continue and lie to yourselves all you want...


    Which makes you two intellectually impotent.

    Posted by: dean | Aug 24, 2013 9:33:44 AM

  20. Thanks, Barb, but you're appealing on the wrong level. Pootsie clearly is using Russians' deep-seated homophobia to manipulate public opinion for his own purposes -- holding on to power -- and doesn't give a rat's rear bumper about world opinion on the issue.

    Posted by: Onnyjay | Aug 24, 2013 11:18:59 AM

  21. Any support is additional pressure on the issue and i applaud her for her position.

    Posted by: Will | Aug 24, 2013 1:44:09 PM

  22. More Barbara Boxers and the U.S.Senate would be a much better place.

    Posted by: andrew | Aug 24, 2013 6:32:34 PM

  23. Vlad is shaking in his boots.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 24, 2013 7:25:44 PM

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