Gay Activist Tourists Arrested in Russia Under New Law
True to his word, Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has begun a crackdown on homosexuality in Russia. The world waited with baited breath after Putin signed into law on June 30 a bill that allows officers to detain foreign tourists suspected of being “pro-gay” for fourteen days before expelling them from Russia.
Then, on Sunday, four Dutch tourists were arrested for interviewing young people on their views on gay rights for a documentary on human rights. The group faces detention, fees, and deportation.
However, this penalization of speech is merely one of several restrictive measures taken by President Putin in his campaign to eradicate “propaganda of non-traditional relationships among the under-aged.”
On July 3, four days after passing the law restricting speech, Putin signed another law that prohibits the adoption of Russian children by citizens of countries with any form of marriage equality. This restriction now includes the United States. Even an American heterosexual couple may not adopt a Russian child given the Kremlin’s concern for “human rights violations.”
The international community has decried these draconian laws as an exercise in hypocrisy. At once, Russia is claiming to bear the banner of human rights in order to “protect” homeless children from same-sex homes while also wantonly trampling the basic human right of free speech. Many have called for a boycott of the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia not just out of protest but also out of protection for homosexual athletes.