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President Obama slams Russia for anti-gay laws and discrimination

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno - Season 21

For more than a year now, one of President Barack Obama’s primary messages has been about the equal and fair treatment of the LGBT community when it comes to both national and international laws. And during the Aug. 6 episode of “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno, President Obama made that message very clear as he criticized Russia for criminalizing homosexuality and perpetuating an anti-gay climate.

While talking with Leno about the Russia’s new anti-gay law, which has been stirring up controversy across the globe, President Obama claimed that Russia is crossing the line of basic human rights with its new law.

“When it comes to universal rights, when it comes to people’s basic freedoms, whether you’re discriminating on the basis of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, you are violating the basic morality that I think should transcend every country,” said Obama.

“And I have no patience for countries that try to treat gays and lesbians and transgendered persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them,” he firmly added.

Leno and Obama also touched upon Russia’s claims that it will enforce its anti-gay laws when it hosts the 2014 Winter Olympics. And though enforcing such laws would result in the threat of jail, fines and deportation for many openly LGBT athletes, Obama claims that Russia’s President Putin understands that his nation has “a big stake in making sure the Olympics work” and will likely not interfere with the games.

“I think they understand that for most of the countries that participate in the Olympics, we wouldn’t tolerate gays and lesbians being treated differently,” he said.

“One of the things I think is very important for me to speak out on is making sure that people are treated fairly and justly because that’s what we stand for, and I believe that that’s a precept that’s not unique to America. That’s just something that should apply everywhere,” Obama said.

Although Obama’s comments will likely not do a lot in the way of helping to smooth out the U.S’s ongoing issues with Russia, including our government’s “disappointment” over Russia’s decision to grant temporary asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, Obama’s words are nothing short of honorable and necessary, and we hope he continues to spread his message of equality to the rest of the world.

Check out some other politicians who share his message below. –nicholas robinson

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