President Obama has cancelled a meeting due to take place with Russian President Vladimir Putin next month, citing the recent passage of anti-gay laws in the country.
The Washington Blade reports that the passage of the laws, one of which bans the “promotion” of homosexuality, and another which bans the adoption of Russian children by same-sex foreign couples, were partly to blame for the decision to cancel the Moscow talks between the two presidents.
The decision was also based on the decision to grant temporary asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden by the Kremlin,
Obama will still travel to the G20 summit in St Petersburg, which is due to take place between 5 and 6 September.
In an interview with Jay Leno on NBC’s Tonight Show, President Obama was asked about the implementation of homophobic censorship laws in Russia.
The president replied saying he has “no patience for countries that try to treat gays and lesbians and transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.”
President Vladimir Putin signed the law in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors, a move that has been criticised as part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community. The law is based on one first passed in St Petersburg.
The law has so far sparked controversy among LGBT activists, with some calling for a boycott of the 2014 Games. Others have also called to boycott Russian vodka as a form of protest.
A UK Government source also said that they anticipated the issue of homophobic oppression in Russia would be raised at the G20 Heads of Government meeting, which is taking place in St Petersburg next month.