Obama’s outcry on Russia’s ‘No Gay Propaganda’ law

Russian embassies are swarmed with protests against anti-gay laws. (AP Photo)

Russian President Vladmir Putin signed into law a bill forbidding gay propaganda this past June, causing global uproar and uneasy feelings toward the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, as reported by The Huffington Post.

This law disallows any Russian citizen or foreigner to equate heterosexual and homosexual relationships and also disallows  promotion of any pro-gay material. Russian lawmakers have also proposed stripping custody rights of gay parents, according to The Huffington Post.

In this day and age, it is very surprising to see Russia, a powerful political and international force, make backward strides in such a current and relevant global issue. Many have even compared this bigotry to that of the Nazi regime during World War II and the 1936 Summer Olympics, according to The New York Times.

However, a major part of the uproar was not of those questioning the morality of such a law, but the apprehension connected to the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi. According to the International Olympic Committee codes, it is strictly illegal to discriminate against certain types of people, such as those with different ethnicities, religious affiliations and even sexual orientations.

The Olympic Games are an influential and global event during which people of all corners of the globe come together in peaceful competition. However, this abhorrent prejudice is sure to cause unwanted hysteria.Nonetheless, The Huffington Post reported that Russia has made it apparent that the law will not influence the games and has pleaded to stop the unnecessary speculations. But it is not so easy to merely overlook this issue, especially since President Obama has been advocating for LGBT rights.

With Obama in the heart of Russia at St. Petersburg for the G20 summit, Obama made a point to meet with Russian civil society leaders, including LGBT activists, before boarding the plane back to Washington, D.C.

Obama’s opinion of Putin’s decision was voiced during “The Tonight Show.”

“I have no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgendered persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them … Nobody is more offended than me by some of the anti-gay and lesbian legislation that you’ve been seeing in Russia.”

Looking into the future, if the No Gay Propaganda law toes the line during the Games, there will be a public outcry difficult to ignore. With Obama, other political forces and global citizens expressing their strong opinions against the law, it would be wise for Putin to reconsider this decision before being pushed into a corner and forced to take action.