Former Fox News host and radio pundit Glenn Beck, famous for his anti-Left tirades and conspiracy theories, has a message for Russia: when it comes to the “gay propaganda” law, the country has gone too far.
Perhaps surprising audiences with his “I stand with GLAAD” segment, Beck said in a TV broadcast this week that “fascism” is on the rise in Russia and, paraphrasing now, that we have to look beyond the politics of Left and Right, of Glenn Beck and GLAAD, to recognize and “to understand, yeah we should stand together… This isn’t a gay issue; it’s a human issue.”
Watch the video below (h/t Right Wing Watch):
As anyone watching the video will see, this wasn’t entirely altruistic, though. Beck’s main agenda here seems to be heading off criticism about his at times unfeeling rhetoric:
“I am a human who lives and breathes just like the next guy … I have a family. I like to laugh. I like to play with my kids. I like to watch a good movie; sometimes I see too many bad ones. I’m not angry. I’m not the evil conservative monster they say I am. And get this one, I don’t think they’re the monster either.”
He also makes a plea to get out of the mud-raking that we are now, apparently, “mired in.” As Right Wing Watch points out, it would be more convincing if in previous shows he hadn’t referred to Michelle Obama as a “monster,” and didn’t in the above segment misrepresent a recent court case where a baker was told that he couldn’t refuse to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple when said baker had made wedding cakes for dogs and other novelty items in the past.
Nevertheless, the fact that Beck has broken ranks with many religious conservatives who have supported the Russian government’s anti-gay propaganda law is significant. Beck, while being vocally conservative on some issues, has tended to identify more with the libertarian camp, and here we see that coming through — perhaps others of a similar political stripe will follow suit. Such action couldn’t be more timely.
Russia has just launched a new wave of restrictions to prevent protests and beef up security for the Sochi Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games that will be held in February.
According to reports, authorities are deploying more than 30,000 police to the area and ministry troops are said to be tightening who can go in and out of the region. Increased security isn’t unique to Russia’s approach, indeed London had its fair share of troubles with its own security detail for the 2012 Summer Olympics. However, Russia has said that it will tolerate no protests around or even near the Sochi games.
As of the 7th of January, military personnel in the area are all on combat alert. Again that’s not unique to Russia, but there is a fear that this kind of show of force isn’t just being used to deter further terrorist activities, but also to stifle any protests that might be made surrounding the Olympics.
Human rights groups across the world are gearing up for the Sochi games and are considering how they can best protest Russia’s human rights crackdown without falling prey to Russia’s censorship laws. One thing they have apparently been told to be careful of is to check that children have not been planted in what were thought to be adult-only crowds, or else LGBT rights campaigners could end up violating the propaganda ban. While this might sound far-fetched, we know that it has happened in the past, for instance when pop star Madonna performed in St Petersburg in 2012.
Meanwhile, Russia is continuing its attack on gay rights and not just within its own borders. Canadian same-sex couples who were looking to adopt from Russia believe their cases are now in doubt after Russia’s high court issued a memo, which was actually issued in September but has only emerged this week, saying that a law passed last year which bans gay couples from the US adopting Russian children should be applied to same-sex couples from all countries.
Canadian adoption authorities have confirmed that the memo does indicate the law should apply universally, though the Canadian government has stressed it hasn’t received instructions from the Russian government and is said to be examining the details of these cases to see whether the ban applies to ongoing cases or just to new ones.
Of course Russia is free to decide who can adopt its orphans and who can’t, but as gay couples have proven time and again that they can rear children at least as well as the average heterosexual couple, the only ones that are missing out here are the children.
Photo credit: Unalienable Rights