The law, signed by President Vladimir Putin in June, bans “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” and imposes fines on those holding gay pride rallies
LGBTQ community strongly protested at Vancouver Pride Parade 2013
A Change.org petition with 54,000 signatures is calling for the winter games to come back to Vancouver.
Global outcry over Russia’s laws against “homosexual propaganda” has yet to follow with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) taking a firm stance against the discriminatory legislation as athletes prepare for the Sochi 2014 winter games.
The law, signed by President Vladimir Putin in June, bans “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” and imposes fines on those holding gay pride rallies. Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko urged critics of Russia’s new anti-gay law to calm down, and that the rights of all athletes competing at next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi will be respected. However, he also insists that athletes would “have to respect the laws of the country” during the Feb. 7-23 games in the Black Sea resort in southern Russia.
The new law imposes fines for spreading information about gay choices to minors, totally bans any gay pride rallies or events and, in essence, makes it illegal to speak about being gay in public spaces. Western leaders and organizations have condemned the legislation as being hateful and likely to incite violence against Russia’s gay population.
The outrage has been universal and high reaching. U.S. President Barack Obama said that he has “no patience” for countries, like Russia, that intimidate and harm individuals based on their sexual orientation.”
There is a strong argument in favor of boycotting the Winter Olympics, as Russia’s horrific human rights record should have been considered long before awarding Russia the games. The Russian government’s recent escalation of discrimination less than a year prior to the Olympics says quite clearly that the Russian government does not care about international attitudes criticizing its treatment of gay athletes or any other segment of society.
International Association of Athletics Federation said last month that Russia should reconsider its stance on gay rights, but that the IAAF won’t make an issue of the topic during the world track and field championships, which began in Moscow this August. IAAF deputy general secretary Nick Davies said that the greater exposure to a variety of lifestyles might serve as an impetus for Russia to reconsider their views but, but in the absence of this change, sports and politics should be kept separate.
U.S. Olympian Nick Symmonds wrote in a Runner’s World column that despite his strong pro-equality stance, which includes having appeared in a NoH8 ad, he won’t raise the issue during the world championships. “The playing field is not a place for politics,” Symmonds wrote.
Last month, the IOC said it would ‘work to ensure that the Games can take place without discrimination against athletes, officials, spectators and the media’. It said: ‘To that end, the IOC has received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games.’
It has recently emerged gay athletes and tourists attending the Winter Olympics could face being arrested or deported under the country’s controversial legislation.