By Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY
President Obama plans to meet with lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender rights activists while he's in Russia this week for the G-20
Igor Kochetkov of LGBT Network told the Associated Press
that his group is accepting an invitation to meet with Obama in St.
Petersburg on Thursday. The St. Petersburg-based advocacy group Coming
Out said it was invited but hasn't decided whether to go.
The White House did not have immediate comment on the meeting, which was first reported by BuzzFeed.
has faced international criticism since it passed a law in June banning
the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations to minors. Human
rights groups have reported there's been an uptick of violence against
the country's LGBT community since the laws passed. The legislation has
led to calls for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
month, Obama said he didn't support boycotting the Sochi games,
because he didn't want to penalize American athletes. But Obama has been
sharply critical of the Russian laws.
"Nobody is more offended
than me by some of the anti-gay and lesbian legislation that you've been
seeing in Russia," Obama said last month.
The meeting will almost
certainly add tension to the already tense relationship between Obama
and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Obama canceled a scheduled
meeting with Putin in Moscow before the G-20 summit. The cancellation
followed a string of disputes, including Russia's decision to grant
asylum to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden and
its blocking of action by the United Nations Security Council against