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U.S. reps ask
Putin to condemn Russian gay-bashing

U.S. reps ask
Putin to condemn Russian gay-bashing

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Fifty members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, including Barney Frank (pictured), have sent a letter to Russian president Vladimir Putin, urging him to condemn antigay violence that has occurred during pride celebrations in Moscow.

Fifty members of Congress from both parties joined in sending a letter to Russian president Vladimir Putin on Friday, urging him to condemn the antigay violence that occurred during pride celebrations in Moscow in May. The letter (reproduced below) accuses Yuri Luzhkov, the mayor of Moscow, of encouraging the violence by refusing to issue a parade permit and by announcing that the city's law enforcement forces would be unable to protect the marchers.

Gay Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank was the driving force behind the letter, and he was joined by fellow out representatives Tammy Baldwin and Jim Kolbe as well as 47 others.

Putin has made no public statements about the violence or about the rights of LGBT Russians in general. "It would be particularly appropriate for President Putin to speak out against these attacks and help prevent future abuses," Frank said in a statement, "now that Russia holds the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers within the Council of Europe, a body dedicated to defending human rights and promoting rule of law." (Advocate.com)

The letter follows:

June 30, 2006

His Excellency Vladimir V. Putin President of the Russian Federation 4 Staraya Square Moscow 103132 Russia

Dear President Putin,

We write as members of the United States Congress to express our dismay over the riots and violence against gay and lesbian marchers in Moscow during a gay pride parade in late May.

It seems to us evident that any government of the people would seek to protect all people, so we were very disappointed that Moscow mayor Luzhkov claimed in denying the parade permit that he would not be able to ensure the safety of the marchers.

We believe that the mayor's public statements and his banning of the parade itself--as well as the fact that provocative and violently anti-gay statements by religious leaders and others went unrepudiated by elected officials--helped create a situation in which violence against gay and lesbian people was in fact more likely to happen, if not inevitable.

In fact, given reports that some police stood by while gay and lesbian marchers were attacked, it is difficult for us to believe that the police were unable to protect the marchers, but instead were simply unwilling to do so.

We hope you agree that violence against people based on sexual orientation--people who are doing no harm to anyone else--is outrageous and not acceptable. We urge you to publicly make clear this sentiment to those who would seek to do harm to gay and lesbian individuals, to public officials and civil leaders who provoke or inadequately respond to such violence, and to the gay and lesbian citizens of Moscow and beyond who deserve to live, gather and associate without fear of violence.

REP. BARNEY FRANK REP. SHERWOOD BOEHLERT REP. STENY H. HOYER REP. TOM LANTOS REP. MICHAEL N. CASTLE REP. JAMES A. LEACH REP. NITA M. LOWEY REP. GARY L. ACKERMAN REP. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS REP. CAROLYN B. MALONEY REP. JOSEPH CROWLEY REP. DENNIS J. KUCINICH REP. JAMES P. McGOVERN REP. STEVEN R. ROTHMAN REP. JERROLD NADLER REP. LOIS CAPPS REP. MICHAEL R. McNULTY REP. DONALD M. PAYNE REP. JANICE D. SCHAKOWSKY REP. RUBEN HINOJOSA REP. SAM FARR REP. TAMMY BALDWIN REP. LUCILLE ROYBAL-ALLARD REP. RUSH D. HOLT REP. LUIS V. GUTIERREZ REP. MARTIN T. MEEHAN REP. FRANK PALLONE JR. REP. EDOLPHUS TOWNS REP. PETER A. DeFAZIO REP. STENY H. HOYER REP. JIM KOLBE REP. HOWARD L. BERMAN REP. ROBERT WEXLER REP. MAXINE WATERS REP. EARL BLUMENAUER REP. ELIOT L. ENGEL REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN REP. RAUL M. GRIJALVA REP. MARY BONO REP. CAROLYN McCARTHY REP. JIM McDERMOTT REP. SHERROD BROWN REP. BARBARA LEE REP. KENDRICK B. MEEK REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ REP. GWEN MOORE REP. ZOE LOFGREN REP. JOHN W. OLVER REP. LINDA T. SANCHEZ REP. WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT

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