Open Letter to President Putin on Russia’s Discriminatory Anti-LGBT Laws
November 15, 2013
Dear President Putin:
Like many of our generation, we have applauded Russia’s 20-year turn toward democracy, confident in the prospect it lays not only for closer relations between our countries, but for the freer and more prosperous future that the Russian people deserve. In that light, we write to express grave concern at recent legislation – signed by you into law, or otherwise under consideration in the Duma – that demonizes and discriminates against Russian citizens who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).
These laws are tearing apart the lives of Russian LGBT citizens and their families. They also impact Russian and foreign citizens, organizations and businesses that want the best for your country, and that are committed to building partnerships that are in your interests.
The range of legislation to which we refer is broad; among other things, it restricts public gatherings; classifies as “foreign agents” those who receive funding from abroad; denies orphaned and abandoned children the opportunity to be brought up in families by individuals with the commitment, the resources, and the love needed to raise them; and makes it a crime to speak openly or provide information about homosexuality. We are also extremely concerned about pending legislation that threatens to remove children from same-sex parents – the homes they’ve known, the families they love.
These discriminatory, anti-LGBT laws call into question the democratic path that Russia ostensibly has chosen. They disregard the obligation carried by all democratic societies to respect and protect minority populations of any kind. And they deny not only the promise of equality under the law, but the fundamental freedoms of speech, assembly, and association that are core to any democratic system.