(Also posted in my Gazette blog)
History, I think, will remember President François Hollande of France, Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain and President Barack Obama of the United States as three of the greatest leaders of our time for standing up to bigotry and homophobia in their efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in their countries.
And while President Vladimir Putin of Russia may be one of the most important leaders on the world stage today, his place in history is not quite as clear on the same-sex marriage issue or LGBTQ rights. Mr. Putin now stands at a crossroads: he could reject the bill passed Tuesday by the lower house that stigmatizes gay people and punishes them or he can sign it into law if/when it is approved by the upper house. If he chooses the former — rejects it – he may well join the ranks of great leaders. If he chooses the latter, he may well be remembered as the world’s biggest homophobe and tyrant to LGBTQ people — which, in my heart, I don’t think he really is at all.
Mr. Putin has reportedly said that he does not discriminate against gay people, according to a Reuters article Wednesday in which Germany expressed concerns about the Russian bill. Now Mr. Putin has a chance to prove that.
Let’s pray that he puts human rights and equality ahead of homophobia and bigotry.