John McCain Condemns Russia's Antigay Bigotry

McCain writes an op-ed calling out the nation's generally repressive climate, including its antigay laws, and he gets some praise and some ribbing.

BY Trudy Ring

September 20 2013 8:54 PM ET

Sen. John McCain

Those who object to Russia’s antigay laws are getting some support from a perhaps unexpected quarter — U.S. senator John McCain.

The senator from Arizona and former Republican presidential candidate contributed a commentary piece to Russian website Pravda.ru, in response to one Russian president Vladimir Putin wrote recently for The New York Times. In McCain’s article, published Thursday, he attacks “Putin and his associates” as repressive in many ways, and he does devote a sentence to their antigay policies: “They write laws to codify bigotry against people whose sexual orientation they condemn.”

McCain has not been known to use homophobic rhetoric, and his presidential aspirations have had some support from gay voters, including an endorsement by the Log Cabin Republicans in 2008. But he has also not been particularly supportive of LGBT rights legislation; he opposed repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” among other pro-gay measures, and he has generally drawn a low score from the Human Rights Campaign in its ranking of U.S. senators’ and representatives’ voting records.  His wife, Cindy, and daughter Meghan have been outspoken LGBT allies, however.

Log Cabin executive director Gregory T. Angelo praised McCain’s response to Putin. “The president’s silence was deafening in the wake of Putin’s insulting New York Times op-ed, so once again Republicans are carrying the water for an administration out of its depth on international policy,” Angelo told the Washington Blade. “As the only national gay rights organization to demand the Obama administration take action on Russia and its antigay laws, Log Cabin Republicans is proud to stand with Senator McCain against Russian oppression and bigotry.”

Late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel, though, poked a little fun at McCain, saying the article was mistranslated and that McCain actually intended to praise Putin’s sex appeal. Watch below.


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