Foreign Office confirms David Cameron will raise Russian anti-gay laws with Putin at G20

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Prime Minster David Cameron is to raise concerns over Russia’s anti-gay laws introduced in June, when he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at this week’s G20 meeting in St Petersburg.

The Foreign Office has confirmed that Mr Cameron will raise the legislation, which bans the promotion of “non-traditional relationships”, when he travels to St Petersburg this week.

Speaking in the House of Commons this morning, openly gay MP Stephen Gilbert voiced concerns on the issue to the Foreign Secretary, asking: “What representations has he had on this issue and will he raise the issue with the Russian President at the G20 summit?”

Margot James, the first openly lesbian Conservative Party MP, tweeted that the Foreign Office has confirmed that Mr Cameron would raise the concerns at the G20 in St Petersburg later this week.

Mr Gilbert has responded: “As Western Europe finally moves toward full legal equality for LGBT people the direction of travel in Russia is more than worrying. It’s vital that Britain continues to press President Putin on this issue at the G20 and I welcome the assurance that Ministers have given me today.

“I want to see our Government take a firm stance on this issue and to make it clear to the Russians that this law is unacceptable. We must condemn those involved in the alarming increase in harassment and violence against gay and lesbian people and we expect the Russian authorities to properly hold these people to account for this disgraceful behaviour.”

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. Other laws banning the adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples, and one which enables organisations receiving funding from abroad to be fined as “foreign agents”, were also passed.

President Barack Obama is also reportedly to meet LGBT activists in the Russian city of St Petersburg during his trip to the city as part of a G20 Heads of Government meeting.

BuzzFeed made the claim citing Russian LGBT activists. The US State Department has declined to comment on the story.

Protests have taken place around the globe, including in London, as well as in Germany and Denmark, in an attempt to push G20 Government leaders to take action against anti-gay laws in Russia.

Cameron’s commitment comes just hours ahead of the “Love Russia, Hate Homophobia” rally at Downing Street from 5-8pm today. Along with 32 other cities across the world, the London protest calls on world leaders at the G20 summit to condemn Russia’s anti-gay laws.

Peter Tatchell, director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, and co-organiser of today’s London protest, said: “While we welcome David Cameron’s commitment to raise LGBT rights with President Putin, we also want him to put the issue on the G20 summit agenda.

“The most effective reproach to Putin would be for the other world leaders at G20 to pledge their joint commitment to LGBT rights.

“Today’s protest will let Putin know that London deplores his homophobia and demands the repeal of anti-gay legislation. We will also send a signal to Russian LGBT people that we stand with them in solidarity,” said Mr Tatchell.

Out4Russia, launched last week and allows users to lobby G20 governments into action against the Russian law.