Putin allies accuse Canada of interfering with the constitutional amendment vote regarding gay marriage.
This is one of more than 200 amendments that is set to be voted on by Russians on July 1st, initially planned for April 22nd but delayed due to the Coronavirus outbreak in Russia. According to The Moscow Times, the Kremlin has taken great efforts to ensure as many Russians as possible turn up for the vote and vote in favor of the amendments – the keystone of which is a clause that will allow Putin to remain president indefinitely.
Canada, as well as the US, New Zealand, Australia and the UK have issued a statement condemning the marriage ban amendment as a violation of human rights and urged Russia to reconsider. Canada’s ambassador to Russia Alison LeClaire also stated that she believes a gay marriage ban would lead to a “less inclusive” Russia, reports CBC.
One of Russia’s most popular talk shows, 60 Minutes, criticized LeClaire’s statement and accused the Canadian government of interfering in domestic Russian politics. The show’s guests, including the chief editor of National Defense magazine, deputy speaker to parliament, and the host condemned the comment and called for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue an official protest against her actions. Unlike the other four ambassadors’ statements, LeClaire’s drew the ire of the Russian political elite because of her specific mention of the upcoming constitutional vote, which Putin’s allies allege amounts to a diplomatic violation.
This is not the first time Canada has spoken out against the status of Russia’s LGBT rights, the government also spoke out against the Russia’s 2013 bill banning gay propaganda and accepted gay Chechen refugees who were tortured and expelled from their homes.