Rice, State Dept Still Silent on Violence at Moscow Gay March
Last weekend gays and lesbian Russians, along with friends from around the globe, attempted to stage a peaceful march for gay rights in Moscow and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The demonstrators were met by hostile cops, antigay thugs and many gays were arrested. Reports from Moscow about the aborted march and aggressive politicians who denied permits to the marchers appeared on several gay blogs and news web sites, and stories appeared in mainstream newspapers and on the wires.
While all the noise and reporting from Moscow was of prime concern to human rights advocates and politicians beyond Russia's borders, President George Bush and the White House made no public condemnations about the violence perpetrated on the pro-gay marchers.
Of course, because we're talking about a human rights problem in a foreign country, it would be our State Department that should issue a condemnation or statement about the situation in Moscow over the weekend.
As a matter of fact, just three short months ago, the State Department released its latest annual survey of global human rights practices, and the section on Russia singled out the mistreatment of gays:
Although homosexuality is not illegal, many male homosexuals continued to suffer discrimination from all levels of society. Medical practitioners continued to limit or refuse their access to health services due to intolerance and prejudice. According to recent studies, male homosexuals were often refused work due to their sexuality. Openly gay men were targets for skinhead aggression, which was often met with law enforcement indifference.
That last sentence could easily apply to what happened just a few short days ago but even though the State Department made mention of gays in the annual report, which surely didn't please Vladimir Putin or other Russian leaders, the department did and said absolutely nothing about the attacks on gays. I guess Secretary Rice and her public affairs officers were too busy tending to holiday barbeques and sales at department stores.
No releases about the antigay attacks posted here. Not a word from Rice about the flare up of hatred of homosexuals in Russia, despite this promise on the web page for all of her public comments:
Secretary Rice recognizes that in its fight for freedom, the U.S. must increase exchanges with the rest of the world--confronting hate, dispelling dangerous myths, and getting out the truth.
And Rice's spokesman, at the first daily press briefing after the attacks, said nothing and none of the reporters at the briefings asked a single question regarding the homo-hatred on display in Moscow.
What possible reason could justify the American government's great silence about the bashing of gays in Moscow on May 27? Are the human rights practices of Russia towards its gay citizens of importance just when the State Department issues its annual report? Our government owes us all a frank and forceful statement deploring the antigay abuses that occurred in Moscow.