Russian president Vladimir Putin scoffed at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow on Friday as the embassy continued flying the rainbow flag in support of LGBT rights, Reuters reported.
At a press conference, Putin said the flag “revealed something about the people that work there,” according to Reuters, in reference to their sexual orientation.
The embassy began flying the flag from a window on June 25, though it could not officially put it on a flagpole because the Trump administration has shut down such requests since June 2019.
Ambassador John Sullivan, a Republican and Trump appointee who got the job in December 2019, said in an Instagram video that the embassy was flying the flag in solidarity with the LGBT community.
“LGBTI rights are human rights, and human rights are universal,” Sullivan said. “It’s as simple as that.”
Russia’s Putin-led government and, supposedly, its voters have disagreed.
Russians voted overwhelmingly, in a weeklong referendum that began June 25, to change the country’s constitution to define marriage as only between a man and a woman.
That referendum also allowed Putin to stay in power until 2036, but the Kremlin reportedly centered its propaganda around the anti-LGBT measures. The U.S. Embassy started flying the rainbow flag on the first day of voting.
Several years ago, Russia passed laws banning “the propaganda of homosexuality.” The laws have been used to block Pride parades and arrest gay rights activists.
“It’s no big deal though,” Putin said of the rainbow flag, according to Reuters. “We have spoken about this many times, and our position is clear.”
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