Jay Leno has compared the situation of LGBTs living in Russia to the beginnings of Nazi Germany and has asked why the world isn’t more outraged in an in depth interview with US President Barack Obama.
‘Something that shocked me about Russia, and I’m surprised that this is not a huge story, suddenly homosexuality is against the law – I mean this seems like Germany – lets round up the Jews, lets round up the gays, lets round up the blacks,’ Leno said last night of Russia’s controversial ‘homosexual propaganda’ ban.
‘It starts with that – you round up people who you don’t like. Why is not more of the world outraged at this?’
Obama said he was deeply concerned with countries that had anti-gay laws.
‘I’ve been very clear that when it comes to universal rights – when it comes to people’s basic freedoms – that whether you are discriminating on the basis of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation you are violating the basic morality that I think should transcend every country and I have no patience for countries that try to treat gays and lesbians and transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them,’ Obama told Leno.
‘’What’s happening in Russia is not unique. When I travel to Africa there are some countries that are doing a lot of good things for their people, who we’re working with and helping on development issues, but in some cases have persecuted gays and lesbians and that makes for some uncomfortable press conferences sometimes.
‘But one of the things that it is very important for me to speak out on is making sure people are treated fairly and justly because that’s what we stand for and I believe that that’s a preset that’s not unique to America, that’s something that should apply anywhere.’
Leno then asked Obama if he thought Russia’s ban on public displays of LGBT identity would effect the Olympics.
‘I think Putin and Russia have a big stake in making sure the Olympics work and 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,’ Obama replied.
‘They’re athletes. They’re there to compete and if Russia wants to uphold the Olympic spirit then every judgement should be made on the track or in the swimming pool or on the balance beam and people’s sexual orientation shouldn’t have anything to do with it.’
Earlier in the interview Obama accused Russia of slipping back into ‘Cold War thinking and a Cold War mentality’ in its relations with the United States.