The US Embassy in Moscow is flying the rainbow pride flag alongside the country’s famous Stars and Stripes as a show of support for the LGBT community.
The move comes as Russians begin to head to the polls to vote on proposed constitutional amendments, including the definition of marriage as a union between a man and woman.
“LGBTI rights are human rights. Human rights are universal,” said the caption on the embassy’s Instagram page. “Pride Month is designed to emphasize that everyone deserves to live a life free of hate, prejudice, and persecution.”
In the USA, LGBT Pride Month occurs in June, on the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, when members of New York’s gay community fought back against local police who regularly raided the city’s gay bars. The flag was used for the first time during a pride parade in San-Francisco on June 25, 1978.
Beginning on Thursday, Russians will vote on a package of constitutional amendments, including one which would enshrine marriage as being between a man and a woman. In March, the country’s Constitutional Court approved the proposal, but noted that it would not remove the state’s obligation to respect differences, including sexual orientation.
In 2013, Russia passed a law making it an offense to distribute materials promoting so-called ‘non-traditional’ sexualities among minors.
Speaking to reporters, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov explained that they “can’t see the American embassy from the Kremlin,” but said that “any manifestations of propaganda of non-traditional sexual minorities, and so on, is not allowed by law in our country.”
In response to the Embassy’s Facebook post, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs replied with a video of the song El Bimbo by Paul Mauriat, which features clips from the 1984 movie ‘Police Academy,’ with scenes set in a bar called Blue Oyster. Along with the video, the ministry wrote the caption: “Just to keep u in a joyful and gay mood in such hard time for America, whose idea has to be made great again.”
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