Last week we inaugurated a regular feature recapping international highlights and lowlights in religion and LGBT advocacy. This week Russia and India are still in the news, along with Australia, Zambia, Ethiopia, the U.K. , and more.
Published: December 18, 2013
This week’s stories include more evidence that American LGBT rights advocates working overseas are finding their work made harder by anti-gay American religious activists encouraging other countries to resist moves toward equality.
Russia: Defiant Putin Cheered on By U.S. Conservatives
On December 12, Russian strongman Vladmir Putin spoke to a joint session of the Russian parliament and defended the country’s anti-gay policies. He decried “top-down destruction of traditional values” and “so-called tolerance,” which he described as “genderless and fruitless.” Putin proclaimed Russia’s role in “the defense of traditional values, which for ages have been a spiritual and moral basis of civilization and every nation: the traditional family values, true human life, including religious life…”
Putin’s defiant homophobia continues to set a tone for others in the country. Moscow’s largest gay club, which has been repeatedly attacked since the anti-gay propaganda law went into effect, was set upon by a group of people who dismantled its roof. A popular actor, Ivan Okhlobystin, who resumed his career after becoming an Orthodox priest, announced that he would like to burn all Russian gays alive:
“I myself would shove all live gays into furnace. This is Sodom and Gomorrah, I as a beliver in God can not treat this indifferently, this is a live threat to my kids!… I do not want my kids to think that faggots are normal. This is lavender fascism. If a person can not choose someone of an opposite sex for procreation – this is a overt sign of mental abnormality, so they should be denied of voting rights."
Okhlobystin also said promoting gay rights is a “betrayal of God” and serves the devil. “Plus the existence of official organizations which sodomites have in all their forms, from homosexuals to pedophiles – it is a direct insult to the feelings of believers in God, and therefore it should be prosecuted."
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