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Russian activists plan picket for Obama’s visit to Moscow

Anish Bhavsar June 9, 2009
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Gay rights campaigners are planning to stage a picket during US President Barack Obama’s visit to Moscow in July to highlight his pledge to increase rights for same-sex couples.

LGBT rights campaigner Nikolai Alekseev told GayRussia.ru: “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 praised developments since Obama took office, but added that the next step was legalising gay marriage.

In May, a lesbian couple attempted to obtain a marriage licence at the city’s marriage office. As expected, their request was denied but they now plan to marry in Canada and exploit a legal loophole in Russian law on marriages abroad which does not state gender.

However, the campaigners will have to seek permission from the city authorities to stage the picket on July 7th. Alekseev said that it was “highly unlikely” that they would be granted the right to protest outside the US Embassy in Moscow after the banned Slavic Pride march last month.

Andy Thayer, a member of Chicago’s Gay Liberation Network, feels the picket will be a strong reminder to the US leader following his election promises to do more for gay rights.

“Since President Obama has backed away from his campaign promises to LGBT people in the US to repeal the Defence 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,” he said.

Related topics: Europe

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