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Obama to meet with LGBT groups in Russia

Amid escalating tensions between the United States and Russia, President Obama will meet with human rights activists, including LGBT groups, while in St.
President Obama to meet with LGBT rights groups at the G20 summit - Emma Margolin - 09/3/2013
Gay rights activists march in Russia's second city of St. Petersburg May 1, 2013, during their rally against a controversial law in the city that...

Amid escalating tensions between the United States and Russia, President Obama will meet with human rights activists, including LGBT groups, while in St. Petersburg for the G-20 summit, BuzzFeed reports and ABC News confirms.

The move follows Obama’s cancellation of a bilateral meeting with his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin, and a public condemnation of the country’s recently enacted anti-gay laws, one of which bans “propaganda of a nontraditional sexual relation among minors.” While on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno last month, the president said that discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation violates “basic morality,” and that countries participating in the Sochi Olympics “wouldn’t tolerate gays and lesbians being treated differently.”

Though presidential meetings with civil society members are not unprecedented, this is believed to be the first to include Russian LGBT groups. The meeting is scheduled for this Thursday at the St. Petersburg’s Crowne Plaza Hotel.