Saturday 10/31/20

US embassy in Moscow flies LGBTI pride flag despite anti-gay law

Public promotion of homosexuality is a crime in Russia under federal legislation.

The US embassy in Moscow has defied Russian Government by flying the rainbow flag of the LGBTI pride movement on Thursday at its main building on a central thoroughfare despite Russia's law against public promotion of homosexuality.

The flying of the six-colour flag, created by American artist and gay rights activist Gilbert Baker, coincided with Russia opening polls for a referendum seeking to enshrine a ban on same-sex marriage in the country's constitution.

"LGBTI rights are human rights. Human rights are universal," the US embassy said in a statement. The term LGBTI stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex.

While same-sex marriage is legal in the United States, public promotion of homosexuality is a crime in Russia under federal legislation signed into law by President Vladimir Putin in 2013.

Russia: "Prohibited by law"

The US embassy said it was displaying the rainbow flag to honour the anniversary of it first being hoisted at a gay pride parade in San Francisco more than four decades ago, in 1978.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded to the display by saying that "any occurrence of propaganda of non-traditional sexual minorities in our country is prohibited by law," according to comments carried by the news agency Interfax.