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Olympic Chief Quits Over Anti-Marriage Equality Views

Just a week after his appointment as Chief of Mission for the 2012 United States Olympic team, two-time Olympic gold-winning gymnast Peter Vidmar has stepped down from his post.

Peter Reports surfaced earlier this week that Vidmar had been very active in his support of California's Proposition 8 campaign in 2008. At the time, he was an participated in anti-marriage equality marches and donated $2,000 of his own money to the campaign. Vidmar, who is a Mormon, has been quoted having said "it's good for our society to have a traditional definition of marriage.'

He said in a statement after his resignation:

"I have dedicated my life to the Olympic movement and the ideals of excellence, friendship and respect. I wish that my personal religious beliefs would not have become a distraction from the amazing things that are happening in the Olympic movement in the United States. I simply cannot have my presence become a detriment to the U.S. Olympic family. I hope that by stepping aside, the athletes and their stories will rightly take center stage."

As Andy noted yesterday, Johnny Weir had some harsh words for Vidmar: "The fact this man who is very publicly against something that may be represented on the American team is disgraceful.”

The United States Olympic Committee had been unaware of Vidmar's anti-gay views until this week.

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Comments

  1. "The United States Olympic Committee had been unaware of Vidmar's anti-gay views until this week."

    Um, he's a Mormon. There, I did your research for you. That'll be $50.

    Posted by: Paul | May 7, 2011 5:55:01 PM


  2. Your personal religious beliefs are not an issue but your attempt to impose those beliefs on others through discriminatory secular laws is a big issue.

    Posted by: PLAINTOM | May 7, 2011 6:01:22 PM


  3. Buh-Bye!

    Posted by: james Brown | May 7, 2011 6:33:32 PM


  4. no one gives a crap about his religion. it's his bigoted public acts we detest.

    Posted by: Dan | May 7, 2011 9:00:58 PM


  5. Bye bye h8tr!

    Posted by: Arturo Beeche | May 8, 2011 1:16:00 AM


  6. Traditional marriage? One man and about 70 wives many of whom are under the age of consent? That's the kind of morality Mr. Vidmar's church represents.

    Posted by: Frank | May 8, 2011 2:15:15 AM


  7. While I completely disagree with Vidmar's opinons regarding marriage, I think it is worth distinguishing people who are just "going with the flow" from people who are "manning the pumps" - the ones "manning the pumps" do a lot more damage, so you make faster progress by concentrating on them.

    Regardless, some states (e.g., California) have laws that prohibit an employer from retaliating against an employee who engages in some sort of political activity on his own time. It works both ways: while it would protect someone like Vidmar, it also prevents a homophobic employer from retaliating against gay and lesbian employees who try to help gain equal rights.

    Posted by: Bill | May 8, 2011 3:06:12 AM


  8. "While I completely disagree with Vidmar's opinons regarding marriage, I think it is worth distinguishing people who are just "going with the flow" from people who are "manning the pumps" - the ones "manning the pumps" do a lot more damage, so you make faster progress by concentrating on them."

    I'm not sure I agree with you. While the people who "man the pumps" might deserve *more* censure and blame, "I was only following orders" isn't and has never been an excuse for one's own actions. The attention paid Mr Vidmar came about because he helped fund an anti-gay activist group, which isn't a passive or neutral stance. It requires action. If the people who *only* fund the front-line activists don't bear some responsibility, who does?

    Posted by: Codswallop | May 8, 2011 11:33:42 AM


  9. dont let the door hit you on the way out petey --- Being a Religious Extremists with Straight Supremacist views just is not cool anymore. Sorry.

    Posted by: rjp3 | May 8, 2011 11:49:02 AM


  10. Weir still supports the fascism that is the Olympics, so no great kudos to him. Time for the whole thing to come to an end, or face serious reform.

    Posted by: anon | May 8, 2011 12:23:16 PM


  11. Regarding Codswallop's statements, it is worth pointing out that "I was only following orders" was in fact a transparent excuse used by war criminals who were doing a lot more than just "following orders". If you take the number of Nazi war criminals convicted immediately and throw in the roughly 30,000 estimated to have escaped, the number you get is surely less than the number of concentration-camp guards (about 55,000 in all), and the war criminals were not just guards, all of whom were expected to follow orders.

    You should keep in mind that rules protecting political activity in places like California are an important safeguard for people who want to help eliminate discrimination - people aren't going to get involved if they could lose their jobs as a result. Meanwhile, people like Vidmar are in trouble only because he's on the losing side of a social issue. Its worth having rules that protect him from economic retaliation by an employer when those same rules also protect gay-rights activists: when the gay-rights movement was starting, those were the ones who really needed to be protected. Meanwhile, Vidmar's side is losing. My guess is that in about 10 years, he'll feel embarrassed to have been publicly against gay rights.

    Posted by: Bill | May 8, 2011 7:06:57 PM


  12. Never forget the genocide that Brigham Young and the other Mormons committed at the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Very, very intolerant people, to the point of killing 140 innocent men, women and children.

    Posted by: phil | May 8, 2011 7:17:41 PM


  13. "Never forget the genocide that Brigham Young and the other Mormons committed at the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Very, very intolerant people, to the point of killing 140 innocent men, women and children."

    According to http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/mountainmeadows/leeaccount.html historians are still debating what role Brigham Young may have played in it - it isn't even clear what he knew about it and when. It was not a genocide - the victims were not targeted because of their nationality or ethnic background.

    There was a lot of tension between the Mormons and the federal government. Bringham Young was apparently trying to get Paiute Indian support for the Mormons in case of an armed conflict with the federal government. The Mormons "gave" the Indians the immigrants' cattle, no doubt knowing that this could lead to a violent encounter, partly with a goal of sending a warning to the federal government.

    At first there was kind of a standoff. The Paiutes lost interest, but a Mormon contingent stepped in anyway and killed the immigrants. They killed everyone to keep Mormon participation a secret, not because of racial or ethnic hatred.

    While a message was apparently sent to Brigham Young asking for advice, round-trip travel time was 6 days. It's not clear that a response from Young one way or another could have influenced what happened as the response could credibly have arrived after the massacre. Some of the people involved later told Young in person and he first expressed concern about public reaction towards Mormons, but the next day he decided he was OK with what had happened (possibly he decided that whitewashing it was the best option).

    So Young's a priori involvement is not clear, and it was not a genocide but rather the murder of 140 people to cover up a crime.


    Posted by: Bill | May 9, 2011 1:36:09 AM


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