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by
Bridget Johnson

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August 12, 2013 - 10:02 am

Russia confirmed that it will be enforcing its new anti-gay laws during the Sochi Winter Olympics, brushing off claims from the International Olympic Committee that athletes and guests would be protected from the legislation.

The legislation bans undefined “propaganda” that supports non-traditional relationships, expressed either in person on or the web. The first foreigners to be fined under the law, which President Vladimir Putin signed in July, were four Dutch filmmakers shooting a documentary about the state of gay rights in one Russian town.

At a Friday press conference, President Obama said he was more offended by the law than anybody.

“I know that one question that’s been raised is how do we approach the Olympics.  I want to just make very clear right now I do not think it’s appropriate to boycott the Olympics.  We’ve got a bunch of Americans out there who are training hard, who are doing everything they can to succeed.  Nobody is more offended than me by some of the anti-gay and lesbian legislation that you’ve been seeing in Russia.  But as I said just this week, I’ve spoken out against that not just with respect to Russia but a number of other countries where we continue to do work with them, but we have a strong disagreement on this issue,” Obama said.

“And one of the things I’m really looking forward to is maybe some gay and lesbian athletes bringing home the gold or silver or bronze, which I think would go a long way in rejecting the kind of attitudes that we’re seeing there.  And if Russia doesn’t have gay or lesbian athletes, then it probably makes their team weaker,” he added.

Russia’s Interior Ministry said in a statement today that there will be no exceptions to the law for visiting Olympians.

“The law enforcement agencies can have no qualms with people who harbor a nontraditional sexual orientation and do not commit such acts, do not conduct any kind of provocation and take part in the Olympics peacefully,” said the statement, according to RIA Novosti.

“Any discussion on violating the rights of representatives of nontraditional sexual orientations, stopping them from taking part in the Olympic Games or discrimination of athletes and guests of the Olympics according to their sexual orientation is totally unfounded and contrived,” the ministry added.

Last week, a group of 87 House Democrats and one Republican — former Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) — implored Secretary of State John Kerry to take measures to protect gay athletes and fans at the Olympics.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, said the U.S. “must do everything we can to protect those Americans who are traveling to Russia for the Olympic and Paralympic Games this winter” in the wake of recent laws passed in Russia.

“Russia’s anti-LGBT laws defy basic human rights that should be guaranteed to everyone at all times and in all places,” said Nadler. “These laws are completely contrary to the uniting spirit of the Olympics, which brings diverse nations together in a spirit of peaceful and friendly competition.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
This. This is the explanation. And yes, it is brilliant. Hits them right in their LGBT, knee-jerk reflex.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Lets put this into perspective: promoting gay liberation is an important part of the US Foreign policy agenda (the people who run it think its important). Its not well publicized but this has been one of the most important parts of American foreign policy for some time, yes even in the Bush years, and has included things like gay pride events inside US Embassies in countries like Pakistan. The Russians realize how important it is the 'right' people and they also realize that promoting gay liberation isn't all that popular in many places in the world where the US is seen as trying to undermine traditional customs.

The laws against 'gay propaganda' (not behavior!) are in effect laws against US State department propaganda. In promoting this law Russia highlights the US government's obsession with homosexuality (by the emotional response of the foreign policy establishment) thus undermining the status of the US among the populations that are against this stuff.

Its a brilliant strategy on their part and it works because the US elites are in the grips of a moralistic puritanical frenzy on the subject of gay liberation, where they are immune to temperance or reason.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
" Nobody is more offended than me by some of the anti-gay and lesbian legislation that you’ve been seeing in Russia."

And how about in the Islamic world?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (13)
All Comments   (13)
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If Russia's laws against the propagandizing for LGBT behavior, as Obama says, infringe upon a right valid for all countries and all times, why does not Obama criticize the anti-LGBT laws of the Vatican State? Isnot the Vatican state a major offender against the LGBTright to push LGBT wangbanging world wide? Or, more specifically, does not any religion that holds that LGBT behavior as sinful and that it should be against the mores of the land and ensuant laws, abridge human rights and, hence, be open to international UN legal persecution. Should not the Pope in the name of the Vatican State accept LGBT propagandizing in the Vatican as a human right (e.g., like killing the unborn) and be legally persecuted or minimally condemned for failure of a furthering of the Obama-ization of the world? I listened recently to a patriarch of one Orthodox Church talk about the dictatorship of homosexuality. Is not Obama (and anyone agreeing) not attempting to DICATATE to states, particularly ones seeking religious foundation, what their basic moral cohension should be. This is, alas, democratic tryanny!! And we are just too dumb to see it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Seems like Obama is obsessed by this issue. "Nobody is more offended than me....." More offended than Michelle ?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If this is the official response from Russia, I can't wait to see how the IOC reconciles this with its discrimination policy. If it does nothing, which it may, someone is bound to make some kind of statement during the games. And if Russia arrests anyone for what we call 1st amendment rights, it will create an issue of global proportions.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Protecting American gays traveling to Russia as tourists more important than protecting Americans in the US from NSA abuses ... more important than protecting Americans from abuse and harassment by the IRS ... and more important than protecting US Embassy personnel from terrorist backlash from the administration's covert activities in Libya.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There are probably 3 or 4 openly gay American Olympians. Outsports lists 21 total internationally. Stats suggest the real total is closer to 400 internationally that will compete in Russia, but most are keeping mum.

I doubt two dozen will infect Russia with a mass psychoses where they all march into the sea. Or maybe Putin thinks they'll all gang up and seize a church. No one's going to boycott the Olympics over this. Russia's not saying don't come, just keep quiet for a few days. It's their country. If you don't like it, don't go. I can't hold a Catholic mass in Tahrir Square. So what?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The only problem I see is that PC American athletes who aren't gay will do a solidarity movement, in concert with this godawful preezie whose only mission, at this point, is to destroy every bastion of normalcy.

Do we really want the mantle of the only Gay country?

That's just....

nevermind.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Does this mean we won't get to enjoy the figure skating competition?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Lets put this into perspective: promoting gay liberation is an important part of the US Foreign policy agenda (the people who run it think its important). Its not well publicized but this has been one of the most important parts of American foreign policy for some time, yes even in the Bush years, and has included things like gay pride events inside US Embassies in countries like Pakistan. The Russians realize how important it is the 'right' people and they also realize that promoting gay liberation isn't all that popular in many places in the world where the US is seen as trying to undermine traditional customs.

The laws against 'gay propaganda' (not behavior!) are in effect laws against US State department propaganda. In promoting this law Russia highlights the US government's obsession with homosexuality (by the emotional response of the foreign policy establishment) thus undermining the status of the US among the populations that are against this stuff.

Its a brilliant strategy on their part and it works because the US elites are in the grips of a moralistic puritanical frenzy on the subject of gay liberation, where they are immune to temperance or reason.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This. This is the explanation. And yes, it is brilliant. Hits them right in their LGBT, knee-jerk reflex.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I agree...buy see how Obama is talking over it all?

He's putting these athletes in a very difficult position. 'Our country is expecting you to come out to us, remain hidden to Russian Authorities and the IOC and then WIN!!! '
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Gee, does this mean that Reggie Love won't be traveling with his b*tt-buddy to watch the Olympics?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
" Nobody is more offended than me by some of the anti-gay and lesbian legislation that you’ve been seeing in Russia."

And how about in the Islamic world?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, you see, there, it's all like, religion of peace, dignity, contribution to society, Islam supports tolerance and justice and diversity.. um..... teachable moment?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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