WASHINGTON, September 17 (RIA Novosti) – The mayor of Seattle has vigorously defended his participation in a protest against Russia’s recently enacted law banning the promotion of “non-traditional” relationships, during which he held a “Stop Putin” sign, in an official letter to the Russian consul-general that was also posted online.
Consul-General Andrey Yushmanov defended Russia’s treatment of homosexuals in comments reported by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Yushmanov also complained that he was “unpleasantly surprised” by photographs showing Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn holding the sign during the protest which was held outside the consul-general’s residence Sept. 3.
“Personally, I’m sure that to portray the President of Russia, Mr. Vladimir Putin, in such a way is absolutely unjustified,” the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Yushmanov as saying Monday.
But McGinn countered that he was supporting “Seattle’s values” and that “…I stand with the conviction that these Russian laws, which negatively affect LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] people and their families, should be repealed.”
While proponents of the new law argue it is aimed at protecting children, critics claim the legislation is part of a much wider crackdown on Russia’s LGBT community.
McGinn, who is running for reelection, is trailing his opponent, State Sen. Ed Murray, according to a recent poll cited by a local television news website.
Murray, who is openly gay, also attended the rally outside the consul-general’s residence, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.