by Brian Leubitz
In case you’ve been living under a rock, the government of Russia is pushing to scapegoat the LGBT community, as President Putin is losing credibility. The move combines with a very homophobic attitude from the Russian Orthodox Church to create a toxic environment and causing [increasing violence against the community. Yesterday, a resolution introduced by Senator Mark Leno that urges CalPERS and CalSTRS not to invest future resources from their pension plans in Russia passed the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee today with a 4-1 bipartisan vote.
Senate Resolution 18 was introduced in response to Russia’s new laws that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. In addition to asking the state’s two largest pension funds to stop making direct future investments in Russia, SR 18 calls on the International Olympic Committee to withdraw its position that expressing support for LGBT people and their rights is a violation of its rules and seek a written guarantee from the Russian government that athletes and other visitors to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi will not be prosecuted under the anti-gay laws. SR 18 also urges other organizations holding large internationally televised events in Russia, including the Miss Universe Organization and its owner Donald Trump, to move their events to countries without such virulently anti-gay laws.
“Russia’s new anti-gay laws are designed to promote the ongoing persecution of LGBT people in that country, and they are an unconscionable affront to LGBT people around the globe,” said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco. “As the host of international events, including the Winter Olympics and the Miss Universe Pageant, it is unacceptable that Russia promote discrimination against people based solely on sexual orientation or gender identity. California joins the worldwide outrage against these new laws and is in a unique position as one of the largest economies to make a strong statement that we will not tolerate nor invest in blatant violations of human rights.”
The measure goes to the full Senate floor, where it will hopefully be quickly sped upon its way.