Vitaly Churkin, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, has
denied that Russia has laws that discriminate against the gay
Churkin was confronted on Thursday by gay rights activists at his
residence on New York's Upper East Side. Roughly 10 activists from
the LGBT group All Out protested Russia's “gay propaganda” law,
which was recently signed by President Vladimir Putin. The
demonstrators stood outside holding placards which read “Tchaikovsky.
Russian. Genius. Gay. Outlawed” and “340,457 worldwide say: Stop
Russia's anti-gay crackdown.”
The latter is a reference to the number of people who signed an
online petition calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC)
to condemn the law ahead of the Winter Olympics to be held in Sochi.
call on Olympic Committee to condemn Russian anti-gay law.)
According to the
AP, when the activists attempted to deliver a CD with the
signatures, Churkin told them they should deliver their petition to
Russia's U.N. Mission instead.
“We don't have anti-gay laws,” Churkin reportedly told Andre
Banks, co-founder and executive director of All Out. “We have laws
banning homosexual propaganda among minors.”
Banks countered that Russia was arresting and killing people
because of their sexual orientation, a claim Churkin denied,
insisting that such actions would violate Russia's constitution.
“That's not true,” he said. “No gay people have been killed
or harmed because they're gay.”
In addition to the “propaganda” law, which prohibits the
positive portrayal of gay men and lesbians in a public setting where
minors could be present, Putin also signed a law which prohibits gay
couples from adopting Russian-born children.