LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday asking the federal government to grant asylum to Russians persecuted under the country’s recent anti-gay laws and unveiled a gay pride flag outside City Hall in solidarity with victims.
Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who is openly gay, and Councilman Mike Bonin authored the resolution calling on President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry “to take action to end the persecution, abuse and murder of gays around the world, including but not limited to making strong, public and international statements condemning such persecution and exerting all necessary pressure on governments to take action.”
The laws banning gay pride events, gay adoptions and “propaganda” in support of homosexuality originated in St. Petersburg, a sister city to Los Angeles.
Councilman Tom LaBonge, who oversees the city’s participation in the program, joined the resolution’s authors in unveiling a rainbow flag on the Sister City Monument, which points towards St. Petersburg. The flag’s placement is intended to send a message of support and solidarity from Angelenos to LGBT individuals facing persecution in Russia, according to Councilman Bonin.
O’Farrell responded to calls from LGBT activists to cut ties between Los Angeles and St. Petersburg through the international sister city program, saying such action would “also sever any chance of making a difference there.”
Earlier this month, several West Hollywood bars protested the laws by boycotting Russian-affiliated vodka Stolichnaya and pouring Russian-branded vodka down the gutter. Groups have also called for a boycott of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
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