US embassy in Moscow raises rainbow flag, Putin mocks them
The US Embassy in Moscow hung a rainbow flag of the LGBTQ community on the facade of its building in honor of Pride month.
In response, Russian President Vladimir Putin mocked the US Embassy by suggesting the flag reflected the sexual orientation of its staff.
Russia currently has a controversial law that prohibits “homosexual propaganda towards minors. There is also a persistent anti-LGBTQ attitude across the country.
People of Moscow take pictures of the rainbow flag
The embassy’s action drew the ire from Russian lawmakers and right-wing groups. However, Muscovites also showed their support for gay rights by taking photos in front of the flag.
As they took pictures of themselves, the people of the city dressed up in bright rainbow outfits and makeup, or they kissed their same-sex partners.
In a statement, the US Embassy in Moscow said: “June is Pride Month and we celebrate that everyone deserves to live a life free from hatred, prejudice and persecution.”
Ironically, President Donald Trump had banned American embassies from hanging rainbow flags on official embassy flagpoles for the whole month of June.
This contradicted the Trump administration’s earlier official statement in support of LGBTQ rights for Pride month. To get around the ban, the embassy had hung the flag on their building.
Putin mocks rainbow flag raised by the US embassy
In reaction to the flying of the rainbow flag, Putin suggested this reflected the sexual orientation of the embassy staff.
While Putin said this “revealed something about the people that work there,” the Russian leader also said that “It’s no big deal though. We have spoken about this many times, and our position is clear.”
“Yes, we passed a law banning the propaganda of homosexuality among minors. So what? Let people grow up, become adults and then decide their own destinies,” he added.
Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Kremlin staff hadn’t noticed the flag, but added that “any display of propaganda of non-traditional sexual minorities in our country is not allowed by law.”
The said 2013 law bans positive depiction of LGBTQ people as “gay propaganda,” and anyone sharing information to minors can be sentenced with heavy fines or up to 15 years in prison.
Rainbow flag in Moscow, LGBT rights in Russia
The unveiling of the flag marks Russia’s day of voting on constitutional amendments that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in their constitution.
The referendum has been accompanied by a wave of homophobic rhetoric and viral campaign ads that promise to enshrine traditional “family values” as part of the Russian constitution.
Putin said he would not let the traditional notion of parenthood be subverted to “parent number 1” and “parent number 2.” Critics said this definition would prevent gay marriage from ever being legalized in Russia.
In a public polling, young Russians are more tolerant of the LGBTQ community than the older generations. However, one in five Russians believe the LGBTQ people should be “eliminated.”
Likewise, the law in Russia has been used to stop gay pride marches and detain gay rights activists.