Television star Wentworth Miller announced he was gay on Wednesday in order to take a public stand against homophobia in Russia.
The Prison Break star declined an invitation to a Russian film festival after the country passed a series of anti-gay laws.
The 41-year-old Prison Break star had been asked to attend the St. Petersburg International Film Festival.
‘As a gay man, I must decline,’ he wrote in his reply, which was made public by the campaigning group GLAAD.
‘I am deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government,’ Wentworth added in his letter.
‘The situation is in no way acceptable, and I cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly,’ he said.
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Wentworth said if circumstances improved he would be free to make a different choice – adding that he had ‘a degree of Russian ancestry’ and had enjoyed past visits to the country previously.
Television star: Wentworth, shown at left in 2005 on Prison Break and right in 2010 in Resident Evil: Afterlife, was championed for taking a stance
The actor was immediately praised by gay rights advocates.
‘Wentworth’s bold show of support sends a powerful message to LGBT Russians, who are facing extreme violence and persecution: you are not alone,’ said GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz in reference to the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
‘As people from across the globe continue to speak out against Russia’s horrific law, more celebrities and corporations should follow his courageous lead in openly condemning Russia’s anti-LGBT law,’ he added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in July signed a law banning the adoption of Russian-born children by gay couples.
Putin in June signed another bill that classified ‘homosexual propaganda’ as pornography and provides for fines and arrest for those making it accessible to minors.
A law passed in 2012 also banned public gay pride events in Moscow for the next 100 years.
The Russian laws have sparked protests in the US where some gay rights advocates have poured Russian vodka in the streets.
The laws also have caused some concern among athlethes who will be heading to Russia for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.