Wentworth Miller took a stand -- and a big step -- on Wednesday, Aug. 21, when he came out as gay in a letter to the organizers of the St. Petersburg International Film Festival in Russia. Citing the country's headline-making anti-LGBT legislation, the 41-year-old Prison Break star said he could not "in good conscience" attend an event in a place that would promote such discrimination.
"Thank you for your kind invitation. As someone who has enjoyed visiting Russia in the past and can also claim a degree of Russian ancestry, it would make me happy to say yes," he wrote in the letter, posted to GLAAD's website. "However, as a gay man, I must decline."
Wentworth went on to note that he took issue with Russia's anti-gay laws, which include a ban on the adoption of Russian-born children to national and international same-sex couples.
"I am deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government," he continued. "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."
"Perhaps, when and if circumstances improve," he added, "I'll be free to make a different choice. Until then."
"Wentworth's bold show of support sends a powerful message to LGBT Russians, who are facing extreme violence and persecution: you are not alone," GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz said in a statement after the letter was posted. "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."
This article originally appeared on Usmagazine.com: Wentworth Miller Comes Out as Gay, Refuses Invitation to Russian Film Festival