President Vladimir Putin mocked the U.S. embassy in Moscow for flying a rainbow flag to demonstrate its support for the LGBTQ community in celebration of Pride Month.
In a post on its official Instagram account, the embassy shared a shot of the flag flying on the side of its building, with a caption reading: “Today we conclude the celebration of the Month of Pride — #PrideMonth, but we continue to protect the rights and fundamental freedoms of all people around the world. LGBT rights are human rights. Human rights are universal. It’s that simple.”
In response, Putin said the embassy’s decision to fly the rainbow flag “revealed something about the people that work there.”
“It’s no big deal though,” Putin said. “We have spoken about this many times, and our position is clear. Yes, we passed a law banning the propaganda of homosexuality among minors. So what? Let people grow up, become adults and then decide their own destinies.”
During his time in office, Putin has sought to restrict LGBTQ rights and has used appeals to homophobia to advance his agenda, aligning himself with the Russian Orthodox Church as a way to rally Russians around a singular national identity.
He has also railed against liberal Western values, claiming that homosexuality is a Western import and foreign to the culture. The country’s 2013 “gay propaganda” law, which seeks to prevent the transmission of information about homosexuality to youth, was largely based on that premise, and has been used to break up pride marches and detain LGBTQ activists, reports The Hill.
Most recently, Putin demagogued on the issue of same-sex marriage in order to boost support for a package of proposed constitutional amendments, including one that would effectively allow him to remain Russia’s president until 2036.
During the campaign, Putin said that he would not let the traditional notion of a mother and father be subverted by what he called “parent number 1” and “parent number 2.”
Putin political allies even ran a homophobic ad designed to gin up support for the ban on same-sex marriage, and, in doing so, for the other constitutional amendments raised in the referendum.
The referendum was ultimately approved by more than three-quarters of all Russian voters.
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