Sacramento–The California Legislature has passed a resolution calling on Congress and the president to condemn violence against gay men in Chechnya. Assembly Joint Resolution (AJR 16), by Assemblymembers Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) and Jordan Cunningham (R-Templeton) and sponsored by Equality California, also calls on the president to encourage immigration authorities to grant asylum and refugee status to LGBTQ people and others fleeing persecution.
“LGBT Chechens are being attacked because of who they are and who they love. We must take action now to condemn the human rights abuses, assist those fleeing persecution, and prevent further violence,” said Low, Chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus.
“California has the world’s strongest legal protections in place for LGBTQ people and occupies a larger place than most states on the international stage,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “It is our responsibility to use our prominence as a beacon of hope as parts of the world slide into authoritarianism and bigotry. We’re proud of Assemblymembers Low and Cunningham for making California a global voice for human rights.”
After attempts to organize an LGBTQ pride event in April in the Chechen capital, Grozny, some 100 gay men were rounded up and arrested. Some of those allegedly detained say they were beaten and tortured at a detention center. Three men died. Rather than address the violence, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has denied the existence of LGBTQ people in Chechnya, saying that their families would themselves murder them if they did exist.
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org