Sunday, July 28, 2013

Olympic Committee Says Russian Anti-Gay Laws Won't Affect Sochi Games

In the wake of increasing calls to boycott next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) says it has assurances Russian anti-gay laws won't affect the games.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in recent weeks has signed laws that prohibit gay and lesbian couples from adopting Russian-born children and the public promotion of gay rights. The nation's “gay propaganda” law also applies to tourists, who could be detained for up to 2 weeks.
Actor-playwright Harvey Fierstein wrote last week in a The New York Times op-ed that the “Olympic Committee must demand the retraction of these laws under the threat of boycott.”
But in a written statement released Friday, the IOC insisted that the laws would not be enforced at the Olympic Games.
“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,” the IOC said.
“The International Olympic Committee is clear that sport is a human right and should be available to all regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation. The Games themselves should be open to all, free of discrimination, and that applies to spectators, officials, media and of course athletes. We would oppose in the strongest terms any move that would jeopardize this principle.”
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT advocate, said that it wanted written proof to back up the IOC's claims.
“Mere verbal assurances from the Russian government that foreigners will be exempt from their repressive laws are not enough,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a written statement. “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,” he added.
I'm not exactly sure how Chad Griffin expects the OIC to change popular Russian religious bigotry, but I'm sure oppressed gays in that country would love to hear them.
Lets keep in mind a previous Olympic event where Adolf Hitler suspended Jewish persecution so other countries wouldn't boycott the 1936 games.
Let's also not forget Jesse Owens humiliating defeat of Hitlers supposed Aryan supremacy beliefs.
As for all this talk about boycotting Stoli vodka and attending the games...what difference will that make?
Not buying a minor export like Stoli isn't going to amount to a whole hill of beans in the grand scheme of things and only serves to possibly alienate an otherwise gay ally (Stoli does contribute to gay causes and events)
As for boycotting the Olympics...I'm of a dual mind on this one and haven't reach a personal conclusion..yet.
I get how passionately everyone feels for the need to make a *statement* but would that be making the right one?
I've never been one to back down in a fight and the alpha in me is screaming out: "Go to the games, but make your presence unmistakeably felt!"
Who can forget Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who raised their black gloved fist in defiance of racial inequality in the US at their 1st and 3rd place medal ceremony in 1968?
Yet few people could tell me why the Soviet Union and it's satellite countries boycotted the 84 Olympics.
Just sayin', let's give this some thought before rushing into a decision that will more than likely not make a damn bit of difference. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think putting pressure on sponsors to pull out is the way to go, without them Russia is on the hook for the full cost of the games.