WASHINGTON, August 12 (RIA Novosti) – Three California state senators were set Monday to submit a resolution calling on the state’s two largest public retirement plans to halt investment in Russia in protest at Russia’s new law on homosexuality, a lawmaker and business media said.
The non-binding resolution, backed by acting Senate President Daniel Steinberg and senators Mark Leno and Ricardo Lara, calls for suspension of “direct future investments in Russia” by the California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS).
“The anti-gay laws recently passed in Russia are an unconscionable affront to LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] people across the world, not just those who live in that country,” said Leno said in a statement released Friday by rights group Equality California.
Precise data on overall investment in Russia by the two multi-billion-dollar funds was not immediately available. However a report released in July showed CalSTRS made double digit profits over the past year due in part to investments in global equity markets while another said CalPERS recently acquired joint ownership of prestigious commercial property in Moscow.
Russian officials say the new law is intended solely to protect minors from “propaganda” about homosexuality and in no way impinges on the freedom of adults to make their own sexual choices. Critics of the law however say it amounts to a state-supported crackdown on gay people.