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Russian Gay Activists to President Obama: “Yes You Can – Legalise Same-Sex Marriage”

Protest planed in Moscow  during Obama’s visit to Moscow to highlight situation in US and Russia
 

 

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■ The US Embassy in Moscow.
 


GENEVA, June 9, 2009    Gay activists in Moscow say they will seek permission from the city authorities to stage a picket supporting same sex marriage, in both the United States and Russia, in front of the US Embassy in Moscow on July 7 during the State visit of President Obama in the Russian capital.

And they will be using a variation on the Obama campaign slogan “Yes We Can”, Nikolai Alekseev revealed in Geneva this morning.

“We want to express our solidarity with US gay activists who are planning similar protests in Washington DC, Chicago and other cities in the coming months,” he said.

Since Obama has entered the White House, gay rights have already made significant progress, Mr. Alekseev said.

“In March, the US added its signature to the Human Rights Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity statement first presented at the United Nations in New York last December – the statement aims to decriminalise homosexuality around the world.

“Last month, State Secretary Hilary Clinton announced that gay partners of US diplomats at missions outside the country will receive equal benefits.”

US activists are expecting the President to make a move on the issue of gay marriage which they see as far more significant.

“Since President Obama has backed away from his campaign promises to LGBT people in the U.S. to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, we are grateful that our gay and lesbian friends in Russia are continuing to raise these human rights concerns during the President's visit to their country,” said Andy Thayer of Chicago’s Gay Liberation Network, who participated in the Slavic Pride protest in Moscow last month.

“This international support for our equal rights is particularly commendable in light of the fact that most LGBT groups in the U.S. continue to fail to help LGBTs outside of the U.S.,” he told Gay Russia.ru yesterday.

During the campaign, President Obama said that he would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a law passed in 1996 by the US Congress to forbid the recognition of same sex marriage by the agencies of the federal government and allows the State not to recognize same sex marriages signed in other States.

On June 1, Obama proclaimed June as the “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month”.

But even if he hinted at the necessity to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t tell Policy” that prevents gay men and women serving openly in the military, President Obama stopped short of making any reference to his promise to repeal the DOMA.

In Russia, gay activists are also campaigning for gay marriage, Mr. Alekseev pointed out.

“Last month, a female couple was denied registration of their marriage by the Marriage Office in Moscow.  The couple are planning to fly to Toronto in August to get married – and then campaign for the recognition of their marriage when they are back in Russia.

“Before they fly to Canada, the couple is expected to take part in the July 7 protest in Moscow,” he said.

Mr. Alekseev admitted that the permission to stage a small protest rally outside the US Embassy in Moscow was “highly unlikely”.

“However, there is a chance as the protest will be aimed more at the situation in the US,” he said.  “And the presidential media pack will be in town.”

He said that the application will be lodged with the Prefecture of the Central Administrative Area of Moscow fifteen days before the planned event.

Additional reporting from GayRussia.Ru

 

SEE ALSO

Gay Marriage Campaign Starts in Russia Two women will apply for a marriage license in Moscow on May 12, it emerged this afternoon.  The announcement was made today during a press conference for Slavic Pride which is planned for later this month in Moscow. (UK Gay News, May 5, 2009)

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Posted: 9 June 2009 at 07:00 (UK time)

   
             
       

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