Russia says EU tries to impose 'alien view' of homosexuality

BRUSSELS Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:53pm EST

An European Union flag flutters outside of the European Parliament in Brussels October 12, 2012. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

An European Union flag flutters outside of the European Parliament in Brussels October 12, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Russia, caught in a pre-Sochi Olympic uproar over gay rights, accuses the European Union in a new report of trying to enforce "an alien view" of homosexuality on other countries.

The accusation is contained in a 153-page "Report on the human rights situation in the European Union", in which Moscow hits back at human rights criticism it regularly faces from the West by listing what it sees as rights failings in EU nations.

The report, presented in Brussels on Thursday by Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian foreign ministry's human rights commissioner, said the EU and its 28 member states saw it as a priority to disseminate their "neo-liberal values as a universal lifestyle for all other members of the international community".

"This is particularly evident in their aggressive promotion of the sexual minorities' rights. Attempts have been made to enforce on other countries an alien view of homosexuality and same-sex marriages as a norm of life and some kind of a natural social phenomenon that deserves support at the state level," the English version of the report said.

"Such an approach encounters resistance not only in the countries upholding traditional values, but also in those countries which have always taken a liberal attitude towards queers," it said.

It gave as an example the opposition of many French people to the legalization of same-sex marriage last year.

Russia, preparing to host the Winter Olympics in Sochi next month, has come under fire from human rights activists over a law banning the dissemination of "gay propaganda" among minors.

Activists say the law is part of a crackdown on freedoms under President Vladimir Putin, who travels to Brussels next Tuesday for a summit with EU leaders.

CRITICISM

Pop singer Elton John spoke out on Wednesday against the Russian law, saying it legitimized homophobia and provided legal cover to extremists.

U.S. President Barack Obama has included three openly gay athletes in the official U.S. delegation to the Sochi Olympics in a move he made clear was intended to send a pointed message to Russia about gay rights.

Former tennis star Billie Jean King, Olympic figure skating champion Brian Boitano and Olympic ice hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow were among a group of prominent Americans named to represent the United States at the Games' ceremonies.

Dolgov warned athletes not to use the Olympics as a podium to campaign against the Russian law.

"If a skater is planning to come as a member of the Olympic team not to compete, but to fight against a law in the host country, it is very bad. It means that this particular skater does not respect Olympic principles, principles of the Olympic movement," he said at a news conference, without saying who he had in mind.

The Russian report said the most pressing human rights issues in the EU included a steady growth of xenophobia, racism, violent nationalism, chauvinism and neo-Nazism.

Grave violations of the rights of minorities, refugees and migrants were increasing in EU countries, and social rights of citizens were being infringed, the report said.

"No country is immune to human rights issues and problems. Nobody's record is perfect," Dolgov said.

(Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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Comments (8)
Zeken wrote:
A few short decades ago, pretty much every country would have considered public celebrations of degeneracy “alien.”

Jan 23, 2014 4:00pm EST  --  Report as abuse
LenicGB wrote:
@Zeken – you are absolutely correct. I cannot tell you how encouraged I am to see our culture evolving beyond descriptions of gay and lesbian lifestyles as “alien” and “degenera[te]” to more normative descriptions like “fellow citizens” and “neighbors.”

Truly, this is a wonderful time to be alive to witness humanity taking a few more steps towards enlightenment. But much work remains to be done, as always.

Jan 23, 2014 4:20pm EST  --  Report as abuse
gany wrote:
I have been a Gay activist since 1974.
One be one the stigmas came down.
We did a great deal of lobbying, protests, testifying, all the usual.
However in New York City we had to wait for old
Politican to die. He really controlled the City Council
whose members were not particularly homophobic but like some
present day congresspeople more afraid of losing jobs than
legalities.

Jan 23, 2014 4:24pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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