Why Russia's ruling party unveiled a 'flag for straights'

In response to the LGBT movement's rainbow flag, Russia's ruling party has introduced a flag promoting the traditional, nuclear Russian family.  

Randall Benton/The Sacramento Bee via AP
Marci Burba waves a rainbow flag that represents the LGBT community. Russia's ruling party has unveiled a flag celebrating "straight pride"

Just weeks after a US Supreme Court ruling legalized same-sex marriage across the United States, Vladimir Putin's United Russia Party hit back by creating a new flag that signifies "straight pride."

The flag, which aims to honor traditional family values, was unveiled at a rally celebrating the Day of Family, Love and Fidelity, according to The Moscow Times. The holiday, which the country celebrates annually on July 8, was started in 2008 by then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

The holiday, The New York Times wrote, “extends Russia’s promotion of procreation, urging couples not only to have children but also to provide those children with two-parent, stable family lives.”

The new banner, which is a response to the rainbow flag that represents the LGBT movement, features a man and a woman holding hands with three children. The flag also comes with a hashtag in Russian, which translates to "A Real Family."

“This is our response to same-sex marriage, to this mockery of the concept of the family. We have to warn against gay-fever at home and support traditional values in our country,” Andrei Lisovenko, an United Russia party official, was quoted as saying.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Russia. But in 2013, Vladimir Putin passed a law passed that bans the promotion of "nontraditional" sexual relations to minors.

The Moscow Times reports that a survey by independent pollster the Levada Center in May found 37 percent of Russians think homosexuality is a disease that needs to be cured.

The flag did not go over well with everyone.

An LGBT rights charity spokesperson told the Independent, "A #realfamily is not determined by sexual orientation or gender identity, but love. That sentiment is certainly missing from this flag as is, in our opinion, a splash more colour. It’s also another example of how much work we still have left to do to combat homophobic, biphobic and transphobic attitudes and behaviours."

In honor of the Day of Family, Love and Fidelity, divorces have been banned for the day in four Russian regions and long-married couples with children have received medals.

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