Pandering to the Russian Orthodox Church and to the homophobia of a huge share of the Russian people, President
In the United States, Europe and elsewhere, pro-gay activists are pushing a boycott of Russian vodka and discussing a boycott of the
On Tuesday at the World Track and Field Championships in Moscow,
Putin insists that Russian homosexuals remain free to live their lives however they wish, even as gays are roughed up on the streets and government officials stoke the fire of anti-gay sentiment. On Russia's most popular news show, the deputy director of Russian state television, Dmitri Kisilev, said the new ban on homosexual "propaganda" is not enough.
"They should be banned from donating blood and sperm," he said. "And their hearts, in case of an automobile accident, should be buried in the ground or burned as unsuitable for the continuation of life."
Kisilev's comments reportedly were met with a big round of applause from the studio audience.
This all feels like just the start of a new international struggle. On one side are the mostly Western countries that are finally beginning to recognize the full citizenship rights of non-heterosexuals. On the other side are countries in Africa and the Islamic world where gays are subject to imprisonment or even a death sentence.