Thursday, August 08, 2013

CA's LGBT Caucus: Use Russian Sister-State Pacts for Dialogue

The following letter was sent today to the eight members of California's LGBT Legislative Caucus and they are: Assemblymembers Tom Ammiano, Toni Atkins, Susan Eggman, Rich Gordon, John A. Perez; and Senators Cathleen Galgiani, Richard Lara, Mark Leno.

We believe now is the ideal time for them and their staffers to find ways of direct communication with Russian politicians here in the state and in Russia. Updates provided when we get them from the elected officials in Sacramento.

Dear LGBT Caucus Members, 

On behalf of and Gays Without Borders, we write to you requesting your assistance in using the levers of power of the State of California regarding homophobic laws and violence in Russia. 

As you no doubt know, hateful laws targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Russians have gone into effect at the regional and federal level, while assaults against our community members increase with impunity. 

California has Sister State agreements with the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Region and the Altai Republic of the Russian Federation, according to the state Senate Office of International Relations. The agreements should be tools of communication and education. 

We would like the LGBT Caucus to carry out these actions: 

1) Request a meeting with Russian Consul General Sergey V. Petrov of the Consulate in San Francisco to convey to him concerns about LGBT Russians; 

2) Inquire with the government officials in Khanty-Mansiysk and Altai as to what steps they are taking to protect the human rights and safety of LGBT citizens in their areas; 

3) Consider severing the two Sister State pacts, as a method of telling President Vladimir Putin and Russian society that there is a diplomatic price to pay for homophobia; 

4) Research all California government trade and economic agreements it has with any Russian corporations or federal and regional government agencies; 

5) Write a letter of protest to President Putin expressing your concerns for LGBT Russians; 

6) Hold a news conference at the State Capitol Building to release the letter and speak about all of your actions as LGBT elected officials to help our LGBT brothers and sisters across Russia. 

We ask that you move expeditiously on our requests and use the power of your individual offices and as the LGBT Caucus to send much-needed messages to the Russian Consulate in San Francisco, the Kremlin in Moscow and the LGBT citizens of Russia. 

Please confirm receipt of this letter by the close of business today, and be in touch with us on Friday, August 9, after you've had time to consider taking formal action, regarding what steps you will take regarding LGBT Russian matters. 

Sincerely yours,

Robbie Sweeny
Melanie Nathan, Michael Petrelis, Bill Wilson
Gays Without Borders

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