A group of nine LGBT elected officials from New York including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn 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.
Quinn, a gay Democratic candidate who’s vying to become the next mayor of New York City said that the LGBT community and its allies in Russia are under attack.
The open letter states: “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.”
President Obama had discussed a possible visit to the Russian capital in September to meet with President Putin. However the visit is now unlikely to take place after Russia granted temporary asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. The letter states that there is also a human rights reason for President Obama to reconsider the trip.
“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,” she said. “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.
Quinn added: “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 decriminalise 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.”
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