WASHINGTON – Reports of the Russian government abusing its gay citizens are based upon false propaganda by gay rights groups in the United States, Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, claimed at a Nov. 15 symposium hosted by The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society.
"Please understand what's really going on in Russia and cast aside all of the propaganda that you hear in the United States and elsewhere. It's just not true," Ruse urged.
He was the main speaker at the symposium, "Family Policy Lessons From Other Lands: What Should America Learn?" and was joined by Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, senior fellow of Concerned Women for America's Beverly LaHaye Institute, and Dr. Allan Carlson, president of The Howard Center.
Gays in Russia, he said, do not support the calls from American gay rights groups for a boycott of next year's Winter Olympics in Russia. He recalled being part of a panel on Russian television with gay rights advocates who called on their American counterparts "to cut it out with regard to the Olympics" and "let the Olympics go forward," because "you guys have a big misunderstanding about the way we live our lives."
Homosexuality and homosexual acts are not illegal in Russia, Ruse explained, like they were during the previous Soviet regime. Gays in Russia live without fear of reprisal from their government. An Internet search of "gay Moscow" reveals a few dozen bars and nightclubs that cater to an openly gay clientele. And, popular Russian television shows feature openly gay characters.
Russians do, though, resist the "political movement to regularize" homosexuality, because "they view this as harmful to children and society."
"They are appalled, as are many Americans, at how these sexual practices are celebrated in the United States," Ruse added. For an example, he mentioned that "the state of California now mandates the teaching of homosexuality to schoolchildren."
Ruse mentioned that his organization does find common cause with gay rights groups in condemning violence against gays, which is a problem in Russia. Recently, there have been gay pride parades and a film festival where counter-demonstrators attacked gays. The Russian government was not complicit in these attacks, though. Indeed, authorities arrested the attackers and allowed the gay pride events to continue.
"Intolerant people are attacking homosexuals," Ruse said. "We, as peace-loving, pro-life, pro-family people, abhor that, condemn that. We believe that all human beings are covered by all human rights treaties, therefore, [gays] are absolutely protected."
Violence against gays in Russia is a big problem that needs to be fixed, he added, but Russians also have a right to be concerned about exposing children to homosexual practices.
"While we do, and should, deplore laws that allow violence against homosexuals, the bottom line for Russia, and elsewhere, is that there is no human right to teach children about sexual practices."
The symposium almost had to be canceled due to complaints from gay rights groups that believed the views expressed should be silenced. You can read about Christian Post coverage of that incident here.