Canada: Foreign Affairs Minister slams ‘hateful’ Russian anti-gay law

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has spoken out to condemn recently introduced anti-gay laws in Russia as “hateful”.

Mr Baird demmed the law, which prohibits the “promotion” of homosexuality “hateful”, and went on to say that it could incite violence.

Speaking to the Canadian Press, he said that Ottawa had expressed private concerns to the Russian government on eight occasions, both before and after President Vladimir Putin had signed the bill into law in June.

President Vladimir Putin signed the law in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors, a move that has been criticised as part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community.

In particular, he noted comments by Russia’s sports minister that the law will definitely be enforced during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, 2014.

He said he planned to work with the US and the UK in order to take a stand in pressuring the Russian government into changing the law ahead of the Winter Olympics.

Last month, speaking exclusively to PinkNews, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg urged Russia to protect the rights of LGBT citizens following concerns about gay athletes and spectators attending the 2014 Winter Olympics.

He said: “Those days should be long behind us now and for those countries and those governments and regimes who don’t see it that way I think they have to move with the times.”

An organisation representing LGBT people in Russia announced last month that it is opposed to a boycott of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics – because they say participation is an important way of highlighting injustice.

Mr Baird recently attacked what he deemed ”offensive” and “mean-spirited” statements on the website of a Christian group which received federal funding for work in Uganda.

John Baird, had previously spoken out against plans for an anti-gay law which includes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” in Uganda, a bill which returned to parliament when it reconvened earlier this month.