LGBTQ Corner

Denny Patterson, Senior Editor

Putin claims that gays are not discriminated against in Russia

Russia is contradicting itself – again. President Vladimir Putin has reported to the Associated Press that athletes who wear rainbow flags at the Sochi Winter Olympics will not be punished, despite many reports that say otherwise. Putin has also claimed that LGBT people are not discriminated against in his country, even though there is currently an anti-gay propaganda law.

“I assure you that I work with these people. I sometimes award them with state prizes or decorations for their achievements in various fields,” he said. “We have absolutely normal relations, and I don’t see anything out of the ordinary here. “

Previous reports have stated that the International Olympic Committee was reassured by the Kremlin that athletes and spectators at the Sochi Olympics would be exempt from the law, but the Russian government has immediately contradicted such statements. In addition, Putin has banned any LGBT demonstrations and rallies during the games. Meanwhile, homophobic and anti-LGBT conduct remains to be unacknowledged.

President Obama meets with Russian LGBT activists

Last week, President Barack Obama met with several human rights and pro-LGBT organizations at the G-20 summit held in St. Petersburg, Russia. Some of the individuals he met with include activists Lyudmila Alexeyeva, Lev Ponomarev and Pavel Chikov.

This is the first time Obama has spoken with any LGBT organization in Russia, and it’s stirring up a bit of controversy. Under Russia’s ban on so-called homosexual propaganda, foreigners and Russian citizens can be arrested for promoting or supporting LGBT rights. Foreigners can also face deportation – a critical issue that is currently involving athletes of the upcoming Sochi Olympic games.

Obama canceled a one-on-one meeting last month with Russian president Vladimir Putin that was scheduled during the G-20 summit due to the country’s record on human rights. While appearing on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” earlier this summer, Obama said, “I have no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.” Obama is the first U.S. President to support same-sex marriage.

Texas military forces refuse to process benefits for same-sex couples

Texas Military Forces are ignoring Department of Defense orders as they refuse to process any requests from same-sex couples to receive spousal benefits. Orders say that they should extend benefits such as housing and health care to gay and lesbian members of the military.

The Associated Press has received confirmation from the Pentagon that Texas is the only state this is currently refusing to process same-sex benefit requests.

Stephen Peters, president of the American Military Partner Associated who advocates for LGBT military families said in a statement, “It’s truly outrageous that the state of Texas has decided to play politics with our military families. Gov. Rick Perry should be ashamed. Our military families are already dealing with enough problems and the last thing they need is more discrimination from the state of Texas.”