24/10/2014 16:00
RIA Novosti

Analysis & Opinion

Russia Gay Laws Cheered by US Conservatives

Topic: Gay Propaganda Ban in Russia

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Signs mocking Putin were displayed at a gay rights rally outside the Russian Consulate in New York City on July 31.Gay rights activists hold a rally in Moscow's Gorky Park in May 2013.
01:50 03/08/2013
Tags: conservatives, homosexuality, gay rights, LGBT

WASHINGTON, August 2 (By Maria Young for RIA Novosti) – Politics, it has been said, makes strange bedfellows. 

Now, as US gay rights groups protest against Russia’s new laws on homosexuality, conservatives across America have quietly begun to align themselves with the Russian government in a rare union that defies a long history of animosity.

“Russia could be a great ally for conservatives, on issues like defending the family, abortions, even strengthening marriage and promoting more children,” said Larry Jacobs, managing director the World Congress of Families, an Illinois-based organization that promotes traditional family values in the US and abroad, in an interview with RIA Novosti.

Next year the group plans to hold its eighth annual International Congress in Moscow, a move Jacobs said was “absolutely” an indication of support for Russia’s growing conservative stance on a number of social issues. 

Other conservative groups are also joining what might seem to be an odd alliance.

"We fully support the widespread notion in Russia that homosexuality has no place in the teaching of children. We also welcome the leading role Russia is taking on this issue at the United Nations,” said Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, a US-based non-profit research group that works to defend life and family values around the world, in a statement to RIA Novosti.

“Russians do not want to follow America’s reckless and decadent promotion of gender confusion, sexual perversion, and anti-biblical ideologies to youth,” said Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH), a group “dedicated to exposing the homosexual activist agenda,” in a statement on the organization’s website. 

US conservatives have long opposed communist ideology and limitations of freedoms that were once the law of the land in the Soviet Union, a state the late US President Ronald Reagan once called an “evil empire.” 

“For 70 years we fought the communists, and some conservatives still associate Russia with a far left communist country, when the reality is, among the more powerful nations, Russia is one of the most conservative countries in the world,” Jacobs said.

In June, the group endorsed Russia’s ban on the promotion among minors of “non-traditional relationships.” Proponents both in Russia and in the United States argue that it shields children from harmful influences.

But the new law has outraged the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community and its supporters in the United States and elsewhere. They claim it potentially criminalizes everything from wearing a rainbow lapel pin to gay couples holding hands in public and effectively encourages persecution of homosexuals.

“A few marginal figures on the American anti-gay right, having lost the battle to criminalize and stigmatize homosexuality in the US, are now turning to foreign markets which they perceive as more receptive to their agenda,” said Jonathan Rauch, Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institute and author of “Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America.”

“The good news is that they don't have much of a constituency in the US… The not-so-good news is that they're capable of encouraging and legitimizing human-rights violators abroad,” Rauch added in a statement to RIA Novosti.

Conservatives say while they reject homosexuality, they also oppose violence.

"We deplore and condemn all forms of violence visited upon anyone including lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals and the transgendered,” said Ruse. 

It is “a strange twist of historical fate” for conservative groups to look to Russia “as the world's foremost defender of traditional values,” said James Kirchick, an international journalist and fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based non-profit policy institute.

“After all, Russia today under the heel of President Vladimir Putin is arguably less free than it was in the late stages of the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev,” Kirchick wrote in an article in The Daily Beast

Really, he wrote, the conservative’s new enthusiasm for men inside the Kremlin, “has everything to do with the Russian government’s anti-gay crackdown, a crackdown they relish seeing take place here in America.”

Not so, said Jacobs, the head of the World Congress of Families.

“Russians, a lot of those in the Orthodox Church and pro-family groups, they want to see Russia return to some stability and that only comes thru strong values and a return to morality,” he said, something he would welcome in America.

“But if you’ve ever seen what happens at a gay pride, there is pornography, they mimic sexual acts, there’s nudity. It is not just people wearing rainbow colors. If all they did was wave flags, that’d be great, I just haven’t seen one where that’s the case,” he added. 

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RIA NovostiSigns mocking Putin were displayed at a gay rights rally outside the Russian Consulate in New York City on July 31.Russia Gay Laws Cheered by US Conservatives

01:50 03/08/2013 Politics, it has been said, makes strange bedfellows. Now, as US gay rights groups protest against Russia’s new laws on homosexuality, conservatives across America have quietly begun to align themselves with the Russian government in a rare union that defies a long history of animosity.>>

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  • Mikhail1228Kudos to President Putin!
    01:01, 08/08/2013
    All of this criticism is ludicrous. Who in their right minds wants their little children exposed to this gay crap? Why do they have to hear about it and why does it need to be promoted to them? I have to laud President Putin for having the balls to stand up against this gay crap and for standing up for traditional families, children and Christianity! Too bad our leaders in the US are too spineless to do the same!!
    • IpseSenexSeconded
      00:07, 13/08/2013
      For too long has this vociferous minority dictated to the rest of us what we have to accept. I'm a UK Christian and have watched with dismay the collapse of the moral standards of my country, the US and other western states.
      It is a strange turn of events when many in these countries look to Russia and applaud the strong stand that President Putin has taken on this issue and also his confirmation and support for the Christian Church in that country.
      The governments in the West have a lot to answer for.
    • chinamikeyeah for Putin!
      06:10, 11/10/2013
      I am so proud of Putin for having the brass, no--TITANUM, NUCLEAR HARDENED balls to stand up against the gay population. I am American, and I have gay friends, but I never tell them "you have equal rights". Why? Because they have sex with each other gives them the FULL RIGHTS of normal, yes, NORMAL heterosexual couples WITH real offspring? I do not believe gays should get insurance via spouse, I do not believe gays should adopt children, and I do not think they need to be in the military, or the Olympics. Yeah for Putin! FU liberal Americans.

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