MOSCOW, January 14 (RIA Novosti) – Several dozen Nobel prize laureates called on Russia to overturn controversial legislation dubbed “the gay propaganda law” in an open letter published Tuesday in British newspaper The Independent.
Just weeks ahead of the Winter Olympics in the southern Russian city of Sochi, 27 Nobel laureates from both science and the arts appealed to President Vladimir Putin to repeal a recent law banning “the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations among minors.”
“Protest is never easy but we hope that by expressing opposition to the new legislation it might be possible to encourage the Russian state to embrace the 21st century humanitarian, political and inclusive democratic principles which Mikhail Gorbachev worked so hard to achieve,” says the letter, penned jointly by British actor Sir Ian McKellen and chemist Sir Harry Kroto.
Russia has come under fierce international condemnation over the law passed in June. Rights activists say the legislation has prompted a rise in suicides among gay and transgender people in Russia, The Independent reported.
The Russian authorities say the measure is part of the country’s efforts to promote traditional values and protect children from gay propaganda and is not aimed at discriminating against the LGBT community.