QUESTION: What is the State Department’s response to reports stating the St. Petersburg city authorities have placed a ban on the reading, discussion or dissemination of anything relating to LGBT issues?
ANSWER: We are concerned by proposed local legislation in Russia that would severely restrict freedoms of expression and assembly for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, and indeed all Russians. As Secretary Clinton has said, gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.
We have called on Russian officials to safeguard these freedoms, and to foster an environment which promotes respect for the rights of all citizens.
We have also consulted with our EU partners on this issue. They share our concerns and are also engaging Russian officials on this.
The United States places great importance on combating discrimination against the LGBT community and all minority groups.