Post submitted by Paul Guequierre, HRC Deputy Communications Director
This Friday, top American supporters of Russia’s anti-LGBT laws will come to Capitol Hill to argue that these hateful policies should serve as a model for the United States. Even more shockingly, the World Congress of Families—which sent nearly a dozen anti-LGBT American activists to Russia to support these heinous laws—is holding this roundtable in official Senate office space.
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin issued the following statement:
“These shameful individuals represent the worst of America, and it’s an outrage that they will now bring their vitriol to the United States Capitol. After spending years exporting their hate to other regions of the world and contributing to a culture of anti-LGBT violence in Russia, these zealots should be condemned by all Americans and especially by our elected leaders.”
The roundtable discussion, hosted by the World Congress of Families, will occur this Friday from 11:00 AM to 1:00PM in Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 562. Entitled “Family Policy Lessons from Other Lands: What Should America Learn?,” the event is presented in innocent-sounding language, but the biographies of the participants reveal their malicious intent.
Three of the four panelists, Austin Ruse, Allan Carlson, and Steven Mosher, have traveled to Russia to meet with other anti-LGBT leaders during critical stages of Russia’s recent anti-LGBT crackdown. The fourth panelist, Janice Crouse, celebrated a proposed law in Uganda that would make being LGBT punishable by death. Crouse called it a, “biblical and cultural stand against the radical homosexual agenda.” For more on the panelists see this background document.
With the help of rogue American activists like those on this panel, Russia continues to demonize and harass its LGBT community.
In June, Russia enacted an "anti-propaganda" law that outlaws even modest public gestures of support of the LGBT community. Foreigners breaking this law, such as those visiting Russia for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, face arrest for up to 15 days followed by deportation.
Russia also enacted a law this summer that prohibits LGBT Russians from adopting children and prohibits adoptions by single foreigners from countries that recognize marriage equality. In September, an even more draconian piece of legislation was proposed that would allow courts to take children away from parents who are LGBT or are suspected of being LGBT.
This state-sanctioned homophobia and transphobia contributes to a culture of violence and harassment against the Russian LGBT community that goes unchecked by law enforcement. Just last week, two masked men with a gun and bat broke into the screening of an LGBT film in St. Petersburg. Several individuals were attacked—two had to be sent to the hospital, one of whom was shot in the eye.
To learn more about HRC's work to bring equality to LGBT Russians, visit www.hrc.org/Russia