Washington– Actor Wentworth Miller has come out as gay in a letter he wrote denouncing Russia's new law criminalizing even the most modest gestures of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Miller, known for his role on the television show "Prison Break," declined an invitation to participate in the St. Petersburg International Film Festival. In his letter, Miller wrote: "Thank you for your kind invitation...as a gay man, I must decline." Miller went on to call the atmosphere in Russia toward LGBT people and their allies "in no way acceptable" and said he could not participate in the event because in Russia, "people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly." In the letter, Miller notes he is a member of the Human Rights Campaign.
"Wentworth Miller demonstrated tremendous courage in coming out and taking a stand against this heinous law," said HRC Vice President and Chief Foundation Officer Jeff Krehely. "Coming out is a powerful action and benefits so many people - particularly youth - who are struggling to come to terms with their sexual orientation or gender identity. Wentworth's actions today not only make the coming out process a little easier for others, but it also puts yet another human face on the millions of people around the globe whose safety is directly impacted by this law and the toxic message it sends about the dignity of LGBT lives."
In June, a law banning "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" was passed by Russia's Federal Assembly and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin. Under the guise of protecting children from "homosexual propaganda," the law imposes fines or jail time to citizens who disseminate information that may cause a "distorted understanding" that LGBT and heterosexual relationships are "socially equivalent." The fines are significantly higher if such information is distributed through the media or Internet.
Foreigners, such as those visiting Russia for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, will not only be fined but also face arrest and up to 15 days in jail, followed by eventual deportation, according to the new law.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.