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Obama Denounces Russia for 'Targeting' Gays in Speech to EU: VIDEO


In a speech on Wednesday at the Palais Des Beaux-Arts in Brussels after talks with EU and NATO leaders on Russia's military backed annexation of Crimea, President Obama gave a speech about taking a stand against Russia, part of which mentioned Russia's attitude toward gay rights, CNN reports:

In making the case for a united stand against what he characterized as Russian aggression, Obama borrowed from the language that helped win him the White House for a second term.

"We believe in human dignity - that every person is created equal, no matter who you are, or what you look like, or who you love, or where you come from," he said.

Later, Obama reiterated criticism of Russian intolerance spawned by a law passed before the Sochi Olympics that outlawed promoting gay rights to children.

Western ideals and values of openness and tolerance would endure long past repression, he argued.

"Instead of targeting our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, we can use our laws to protect their rights," he said. "Instead of defining ourselves in opposition to others, we can affirm the aspirations that we hold in common. That's what will make America strong. That's what will make Europe strong. That's what makes us who we are."

Watch the full speech, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. And word is this morning from US intel that Putin is getting ready to invade Eastern Ukraine shortly. Putie wasn't very moved and didn't faint.

    Posted by: MIke | Mar 27, 2014 8:09:25 AM

  2. I love how he always makes these points while somehow able to glaze over the fact that America is last in terms of equality in the developed world. And behind even many developing nations in Latin America. It's fun to pretend, I guess.

    Posted by: D.R.H. | Mar 27, 2014 8:19:38 AM

  3. Putin 2010s = Hitler 1930s
    Gays = Jews
    Crimea = Sudetenland

    The only difference is that Hitler had allies while Putin has 0 of them. Even that other cesspool of nation Belarus criticized him.

    Posted by: TheSeer | Mar 27, 2014 8:57:09 AM

  4. Oh and the other difference is that Putin has nukes while Hitler didn't have them.

    Posted by: TheSeer | Mar 27, 2014 8:58:37 AM

  5. Meh. Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993, the US did it in 2003. And using gay Russians as props in political games will only make it worse for them because it makes homosexuality look more "foreign" to other Russians.

    Posted by: Eugene | Mar 27, 2014 9:54:19 AM

  6. Eugene, Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993, but unlike in the US, in the previous decade there were actually people getting jail sentences for consensual homosexuality. Up to three years. The US laws hadn't been used that way on a massive scale (500-1000 per year?) in a long long time. Maybe ever.

    The connection between gays and the foreign has been in Russians' minds since the 90s and is hammered by Putin's propaganda every day. Not mentioning gay rights is not the solution.

    For example, there is now a possibility that the EU will not require protection of LGBT people of Ukraine to put it on the path to collaboration. Is that better, in your view?

    Posted by: KevinVt | Mar 27, 2014 10:10:05 AM

  7. @KevinVT
    Your first argument is very poor. As an example, the current anti-gay laws in Russia are not being used "on a massive scale". But the mere threat of prosecution is enough.

    More importantly, I wasn't saying that things were A-OK in Russia. My point was that Obama should get off the high horse - America has been anti-gay for a long, long time.

    Most importantly, you can't force people to love and accept you. So the pressure on Russia and Ukraine can be counterproductive. And it's something that Americans may be failing to understand because the US has never been subject to this kind of pressure. If the EU was "taking a stand against the US", would American politicians just comply with the demands? What if it's not the EU but a less friendly country?

    Ukraine is particularly vulnerable now and its relationship with the West is better, so you can force them to adopt LGBT protection measures. But doing it against people's will won't make Ukrainians love gays and lesbians. And what good is, for example, employment anti-discrimination - something that even Americans don't have - when your coworkers barely tolerate you just because they have to?

    Posted by: Eugene | Mar 27, 2014 10:58:50 AM

  8. @ Troll who appropriated "Eugene":

    You have no arguments. You wouldn't know what a strong argument looks like.

    Your main anti-gay sound bite:
    "you can't force people to love and accept you" ... "... won't make Ukrainians love gays and lesbians."
    What you are uncleverly ignoring is that LGBTs aren't forcing people to "love" them as you trolly put it. There's a difference between private acceptance and public compliance, and you have a blind-spot in that regard.
    Anti-gays don't have to "love" LGBTs so that LGBTs can have what they want.

    What (credible, peer reviewed) social science research has shown is that changing the laws is what sends a message and changes public opinion. Asking LGBTs to wait for public opinion to change before changing the laws is putting-the-cart-before-the-horse. An anti-gay writer such as yourself probably knows this, so FYI this is more for the benefit of the general reader rather than you, but it is important every now and then to put a bigot in their place.

    You now stand corrected.

    Posted by: ShiningSea | Mar 27, 2014 8:31:44 PM

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