After weeks of urgent entreaties by constituent letter-writers, gay rights activists, and the usual SLOG suspects, Seattle's City Council has finally sent a letter to the local Russian Consul General today condemning Russian persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and opposing the country's complex of recent anti-gay laws.
The letter was signed by the entire council and delivered to Seattle Consul general Andrey Yushmanov this morning, according to Council President Sally Clark's office. It says in part:
Let there be no mistake - Seattle condemns any kind of discrimination, any kind of marginalization, any kind of human rights violations against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.The Council letter follows an earlier letter sent to Yushmanov by Seattle mayor Mike McGinn that also put it to the Consul General bluntly: "The laws recently signed by your president, Vladimir Putin, are intolerant."
Russia's proposed and enacted laws tear apart families; take hope away from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth; endanger health; and prohibit lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from speaking freely.
Now that the council and mayor are unanimous (and that took awhile, sheesh, guys) and both have stated the city's position to Yushmanov in writing, Seattle probably becomes the first city in the world to have its entire executive and legislative branches of government condemn Russia's crackdown on LGBT people. What's more, Seattle didn't do it because it was nosing around in areas that aren't the city's business. Seattle did it because the Russian Consul general asked it to.
The Mayor's letter was more strongly worded, but the Council upped the ante by convening a public forum on the issue to be held in City Hall on November 18—and by inviting the consul general to attend, perhaps to explain or defend his country's persecution of gay people.
That will be interesting.
As to the persecution part, that much continues. Despite the fact that legislation that would forcibly remove Russian children from their own gay parents was recently withdrawn from consideration, backers of the measure say they are just rewriting it and plan to reintroduce it with the hope that it will pass.