While NBC continues to take heat for editing out key LGBT-adjacent segments of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, ABC News took the opportunity to spotlight the hostile environment LGBT Russians face in Moscow in a report aired Wednesday.
Acknowledging that life can be "tough" for gay people in Russia, ABC's chief foreign correspondent, Terry Moran, stepped inside Moscow's Central Station, the capitol city's largest gay club, which has been the target of repeated attacks by antigay vigilantes. Patrons inside the club told the Moran that Putin's promise of equality is the president's greatest lie, and one drag queen told the network he is planning to flee Russia for San Francisco.
The network also spent with a group that surveils the nondescript entrance to the club, billing itself the the "Morality Patrol."
"We just want people to know that the gay community is there," said Nikita, a member of the so-called Morality Patrol. The patrol, which scours the city in a roaming van with cameras mounted on the dash and inside, contends that it actually protects LGBT Russians from those more violent vigilantes who would directly target them.
Perhaps the most frightening section of the report was a "back alley" meeting with an antigay vigilante group that calls itself God's Will.
"It's a real plague, a real virus," the group's leader, Dimity Enteo, told ABC. "It needs to be destroyed. And for those who promote [homosexuality], they should be stoned to death, like God ordered."
What's even more disconcerting is the fact that according to a new poll from Pew Research Center, these harsh antigay perspectives are commonplace in Russia. That poll determined that a staggering 72 percent of Russians consider homosexuality to "morally unacceptable." Same-sex attractions were the most universally reviled "vice" among those listed in the survey, which included extramarital affairs, gambling, abortion, drinking alcohol, premarital sex, divorce, and contraception.
Watch ABC's report below.