Last Update: Thursday, December 12, 2013
|Los Angeles Leaders "Flag" Russia For Ant-Gay Laws|
|Written by Elizabeth Hsing-Huei Chou|
|Thursday, 22 August 2013 07:51|
Photo Courtsy Peter Stern
L.A. CIty Councilmemers Mike Bonin (podium) and Mitch O'Farrell speak against the anti-gay legislation recently passed in Russia. On the podium are copies of the rainbow flags flown over City Hall on Tuesday, Aug. 20.
LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles City Council members and gay rights advocates unveiled a gay pride flag outside City Hall to protest anti-gay laws enacted in Russia, including St. Petersburg, a sister city to Los Angeles.
The council also unanimously approved a resolution urging the federal government to give asylum to victims persecuted in Russia based on their sexual orientation or gender identification.
The resolution, authored Tuesday, Aug. 20, by openly gay Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell and Mike Bonin, calls on President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry "to take action to end the persecution, abuse and murder of gays around the world, including but not limited to making strong, public and international statements condemning such persecution and exerting all necessary pressure on governments to take action."
"There is untold oppression and discrimination happening right now, today, in the former Soviet Union, in Russia, in the city of St. Petersburg and elsewhere," Bonin said.
Councilmember Tom La- Bonge, who oversees Los Angeles' participation in the international sister city program, joined Bonin and O'Farrell in unveiling a rainbow flag hanging from the Sister City Monument "street sign" pointed in the direction of St. Petersburg.
Bonin said they hope the rainbow flag, which "signifies the history, the dignity and the power of the LGBT community," will "send a message to Russia, with love," and let gay people being persecuted in that country know that Angelenos "heard their plight" and "we've got their backs."
Russian laws banning "propaganda" in support of same-sex orientation – whether it is public speech or gay pride festivals – first took root in St. Petersburg.
Earlier this month, local operators of gay bars poured Russian-branded vodka into gutters and groups called on athletes to boycott the Sochi 2014 Olympics in Russia.
O'Farrell, addressing calls from gay activists to suspend Los Angeles' St. Petersburg sister city program, said "severing ties at this time will also sever any chance of making a difference there."
The sister city relationship should serve as "vehicle to encourage, cajole and pressure Russian leaders into doing what is right by civilized society," O'Farrell said.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 22 August 2013 07:54|