Russian Law Maker Says Gay Olympians Will Be Arrested
One Russian Lawmaker, Vitaly Milonov, contradicted the IOC statement earlier today, with Gaystarnews.com reporting that he believes the law counties anti-gay propaganda law should still be enforced during the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi.
Milonov, who was the co-sponsor of the “non-traditional relationships” bill, said the Russian government can’t selectively decide what laws to enforce and when. “If a law has been approved by the federal legislature and signed by the president, then the government has no right to suspend it. It doesn’t have the authority.” said Milonov.
Last week, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) released a statement that Russia would not be persecuting gay athletes during the 2014 Winter Olympics Games in Sochi, Russia. But yesterday, the Human Rights Campaign warned the LGBT community and the IOC to still be wary of Russia’s new laws condemning homosexuals.
“Mere verbal assurances from the Russian government that foreigners will be exempt from their repressive laws are not enough,” said HRC President Chad Griffin according to the HRC press release, “The IOC must obtain ironclad written assurance from President Putin. But more importantly, they should be advocating for the safety of all LGBT people in Russia, not simply those visiting for the Olympics. Rescinding this heinous law must be our collective goal.”
Russian sports news network, R-Sport reported that Russian officials gave word that no foreign attendee or participant to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games would be subject to the recent laws condemning homosexuals, “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. this legislation has just been passed into law and it remains to be seen whether and how it will be implemented, particularly as regards the Games in Sochi.” The R-Sport story goes on to mention that Russia has been drawing international criticism, with the European Court of Human Rights disapproving of Russia’s treatment of it’s LGBT citizens.
Last month, Russia passed a law banning “gay propaganda”. The law prohibits Russian citizens from spreading “propaganda for non-traditional sexual relations” to minors and includes heavy fines and possible jail time for violators. According to Reuters, the law passed by 436 votes in the Russian lower house, Duma. The law eliminates any legal gay rights events and public displays of affection by same-sex couples.
“Traditional sexual relations are relations between a man and a woman, which … are a condition for the preservation and development of the multi-ethnic Russian people,” lawmaker Yelena Mizulina told the chamber.
The Russian government has yet to make an official announcement regarding the IOC’s statement.
In light of the new law, a number of LGBT protest have been launched in Russia. These protest have been met with extreme violence from counter-protestors. Protestors who stood outside the Duma when the law was passed last month were outnumbered by anti-LGBT counter-protestors berating them and throwing rotten eggs. Earlier this week, LGBTQ Nation reported a story about Russian ultra-nationalist inciting violence and prejudice against LGBT youth through social media.
The controversy over the law has prompted a number of LGBT members calling for a boycott of the games. U.S. Olympic figure skater, Johnny Weir disagrees with the idea, however, having penned an op-ed piece in the Falls Church News-Press last week, asking for LGBT members and allies to not support a boycott for the sake of all types of athletes, “To have a boycott would not only negate the career of some athletes who have only one chance at competing at the Games, but also the over-time shifts an exhausted father takes to make ends meet, or the social acclimatization of a brother who can’t go on spring break because his brother needed another costume, or the mother who works part-time at a job far beneath her, just so she can afford to watch her first-born perform for the world.” said Weir, “I beg the gay athletes not to forget their missions and fight for a chance to dazzle the world.” Weir was married last year to Victor Voronov, who happens to be of Russian descent.
While most Olympics athletes, even LGBT ones, are determined to still participate in next year’s games, there is speculation that political statements or display could be made in response to the Russian ruling. While no statement might be made distinctly, history has shown that athletes such as Jessie Owens winning gold in Hitler’s Nazi Germany in the 1936 Berlin Olympics can be statements within themselves.
Protest of the Russian law has also led to a number of bars and LGBT groups throughout Europe and America to boycott Russian Vodka.
The 22nd Winter Olympic Games are scheduled to begin in Sochi, Russia on February 7, 2014. 37 Nations are qualified with an estimated 2500 plus athletes participating.
A new video has come out by some Russian Youtubers which really helps illustrate the point.July 13, 2015
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