Sir Ian McKellen leads 27 Nobel laureates in protesting Russia’s ‘gay propaganda’ law

Sir Ian McKellen and his friend the chemist Sir Harry Kroto have penned an open letter to the Russian Government signed by 27 Nobel prize winners, protesting its ban on so-called ‘homosexual propaganda to minors’

Sir Ian McKellen has joined forces with the noted chemist Sir Harry Kroto to co-write a protest letter to the Russian Government over its treatment of LGBTIs which has been co-signed by 27 Nobel prize winners.

The letter was published in full in the UK’s The Independent newspaper earlier today.

The letter is addressed to President Vladimir Putin and the Russian people and prominent Nobel laureates to sign it include the novelist JM Coetzee, geneticist Sir Paul Nurse

According to McKellen and Kroto the letter was written to show that, ‘many senior members of the international scientific community show solidarity with politicians, artists, sports people and many others who have already expressed their abhorrence for the Russian Government’s actions against its gay citizens.’

‘Protest is never easy but we hope that by expressing opposition to the new legislation it might be possible to encourage the Russian state to embrace the 21st century humanitarian, political and inclusive democratic principles which Mikhail Gorbachev worked so hard to achieve.’

In the letter Kroto says he has enjoyed ‘the tremendous friendship of Russian scientists’ during his career and would honor an invitation to return in 2014 but says that will be the last time he visits Russia unless the country’s law banning so-called ‘homosexual propaganda to minors’ is repealed.

McKellen writes in the letter about how he has been warned by the UK Foreign Office against speaking openly about his sexuality if he travels to Russia and that as a result he has had to decline invitations to attend Russian film festivals.

McKellen and Kroto have been friends since childhood.

The full list of the Nobel laureates is as follows; Mairead Maguire (Nobel Peace 1976), Eric Cornell (Nobel Physics 2001), Sheldon Glashow (Nobel Physics 1979), Brian Josephson (Nobel Physics 1973), Martin Perl (Nobel Physics 1995), Roald Hoffmann (Chemistry 1981), Gerhard Ertl (Chemistry 2007), Susumu Tonegawa (Physiology/Medicine 1987), Tony Leggett (Nobel Physics 2003), Dudley Herschbach (Nobel Chemistry 1986), Paul Nurse (Nobel Physiology/Medicine 2001), Robert Curl (Nobel Chemistry 1996), Martin Chalfie (Nobel Chemistry 2008), Richard Roberts (Nobel Physiology/Medicine 1993), John Polanyi (Nobel Chemistry 1986), Edmond Fischer (Nobel Physiology/Medicine 1992), Timothy Hunt (Nobel Physiology/Medicine 2001), Jack Szostak (Nobel Physiology/Medicine 2009), John Coetzee (Nobel Literature 2003), Eric Wieschaus (Nobel Physiology/Medicine 1995), Leon Lederman (Nobel Physics 1988), Peter Agre (Nobel Chemistry 2003), John Sulston (Nobel Physiology/Medicine 2002), Herta Müller (Nobel Literature 2009), Brian Schmidt (Nobel Physics 2011), Thomas Steitz (Nobel Chemistry 2009).

by Andrew Potts
Source – Gay Star News