Don't let Russia arrest gays at the Olympics
Russia is waging a war on gay people — and Russian politicians have made it clear that they will enforce the country's draconian new anti-gay rules on both fans and athletes at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.
The "gay propaganda" ban makes it illegal to be openly gay and has harsh consequences for anyone convicted of sharing what is considered to be "homosexual information" to minors. A same-sex embrace or carrying a pro-gay sign can lead to arrest and imprisonment.1 What's more, the Russian government can detain foreigners for up to 14 days before expelling them from the country if their behavior runs afoul of Russia's harsh anti-gay statutes.
Tell the International Olympic Committee to protect Olympic athletes and fans by moving the 2014 Winter Olympics out of Russia.
The political environment in Russia is dangerously anti-gay. Over 70% of Russians don't think homosexuality should be accepted by society,2 and the new law has spurred a wave of anti-gay violence across the country, perpetrated by neo-Nazi groups who are abducting and torturing gay men, and then posting the pictures and video online.3
Russia's Interior Ministry, which controls the police force, just confirmed this week that it intends to enforce the anti-gay law during the Olympics.4
The Olympic Charter states that every individual must have the possibility of practicing his or her sport without discrimination of any kind.5 And the Olympic Charter is clear that the games can be moved from any host that does not conform to Olympic principles.6
Moving the Olympics out of Russia would deal a serious blow to President Putin, and the anti-gay legislators who passed the bill in parliament. A strong message of international condemnation against anti-gay persecution would draw the eyes of the world to Russia, and show politicians the international price the country will have to pay to continue its war on gays.
Tell the IOC: The Olympics must not be held in anti-gay Russia. Move the games to a country that doesn't persecute gays.
Moving the 2014 Winter Olympics would be difficult but it is not impossible. Vancouver, Canada, which hosted the games in 2010, has the infrastructure to host the games again. And if necessary the games could be postponed until 2015.
Moving the Winter Olympics is a viable option. In fact, this idea has already been suggested by a senior IOC member, Gerhard Heiberg of Norway, who said of Russia recently: "They have accepted the words of the Olympic Charter and the host city contract, so either they respect it or we have to say goodbye to them."7
Thank you for standing up against anti-gay bias.
- Kirit Radia, "Russia Warns Olympic Athletes Could Be Fined or Arrested for Violating Ant-Gay Laws." ABC News, August 1, 2013.
- Katie Reilly, "Russia’s anti-gay laws in line with public’s views on homosexuality." Pew Research Center, August 5, 2013.
- [Warning: Disturbing content!] Sunnivie Brydum, "Russian Neo-Nazis Allegedly Torture Gay Teens In 'Anti-Pedophilia' Campaign." The Advocate, July 26, 2013.
- [Warning: Disturbing content!] "BREAKING: Russia Interior Minister confirms Olympic athletes will be arrested at Sochi under anti-gay law." AmericaBlog, August 12, 2013.
- [PDF] Fundamental Principles of Olympism, § 4, "Olympic Charter." International Olympic Committee, July 8, 2011.
- [PDF] § 36.2, "Olympic Charter." International Olympic Committee, July 8, 2011.
- Stephen Wilson, "Entertainment World Leads Outcry Against Russia." ABC News, August 10, 2013.