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Dallas Log Cabin Republicans, Russian LGBT advocates discuss Olympic concerns

Dallas Log Cabin Republicans meet with Russian LGBT advocates
Dallas Log Cabin Republicans meet with Russian LGBT advocatesDallas Log Cabin Republicans

Members of the Dallas Log Cabin Republicans (DLCR) met with delegates of Russia's LGBT community last week to discuss concerns that the country's new anti-gay law could be used against athletes at next years' Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The Russian delegates, representing the LGBT community from across the country, are touring five American cities to bring awareness of the country's new anti-gay propaganda law. Although Russian authorities say the law was crafted to protect children from "gay propaganda," advocates say the law is instead being used to justify hate crimes, as well as government persecution and imprisonment of Russian gays. The Russian crackdown on free speech and both civil and human rights led the advocates to seek help from American supporters to highlight their plight.

The meeting between the Dallas Log Cabin Republicans and the Russian delegates took place in San Antonio Friday. Dallas Log Cabin Republicans Vice President Lisa DeWitt and Secretary Meegan Honeyman were joined by Karen Newton of the Texas Federation of Republican Women and Austin Log Cabin Republicans President Jeff Davis. "It was sobering to learn that as a straight ally, I could experience suffering or even death in Russia. Clearly that is why the delegates had to seek help outside of their country in order to protect their fellow countrymen," DeWitt said. The Dallas Log Cabin Republicans hope the meeting will bring more focus on the dangers and threat of violence and death gays in Russia face.

Although the meeting was organized by the U.S. State Department, the Obama administration has yet to address concerns that the Russian government may harass or even jail Olympic athletes and their friends simply for being "pro-gay." The national headquarters for the Log Cabin Republicans issued a statement in August asking President Obama to announce a plan to protect gay athletes in Russia for the Games. "President Obama and the State Department need to present a defined plan that guarantees the safety of our nation’s Olympic competitors and pressures the IOC never to put the gay athletes of the world in a situation where their safety is in question ever again," LCR executive director Gregory T. Angelo said.

DeWitt and Honeyman will report on the details of the meeting with the Russian delegation at the next monthly meeting of the Dallas Log Cabin Republicans. The group meets the second Tuesday of each month. For more information visit www.dallaslogcabin.org or contact Meegan Honeyman at mhoneyman@dallaslogcabin.org.

Victor Medina writes for Yahoo News and his political blog WhenLiberalsAttack.com. His other writing credits include The Dallas Morning News and SportsIllustrated.com. He has served as a Dallas County election judge and on the Board of Directors of The Sixth Floor Museum. You can follow him on his blog, VictorMedina.com or on Twitter at @mrvictormedina. He can be reached by email at vic@victormedina.com. Click here to receive a weekly email update from WhenLiberalsAttack.com. To be notified of future stories by Victor Medina, click the SUBSCRIBE link here or at the top of this page.