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 If these laws and policies are not repealed, the consequences for human life and human dignity could get even worse.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.