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.

Comments

  1. chris says

    Vidmar is a disgrace. His values are in direct opposition to the spirit of the Olympic games. He should have stepped down a long time ago.

  2. Michael says

    “I have dedicated my life to the Olympic movement and the ideals of excellence, friendship and respect”

    …as long as you think as I do, otherwise I do not respect your rights, excellence, nor friendship.

    “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.”

    Then stop your CHURCH from trying to impose their idiotic beliefs-that come from an insane man-on a segment of society you are trying to partition/get rid of.

    “it’s good for our society to have a traditional definition of marriage.”

    Which would have been polygamy until not so long ago. So which VERSION of “traditional” marriage do you aspire?

    Same tired religious BS.

  3. B-rod says

    When I was young and saw Peter in the 1984 olympics, I had such a crush on him (obviously, this was waaaay before his anti-gay views)….but boy, has the age fairy beaten the crap out of him! How old is he? 50? He looks awful for his age.

  4. says

    “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.”

    Yeah, and we wish your “personal religious beliefs” were not being used to condone, promote and enforce bigotry and discrimination in this country.

    Mormons must take a course in false-victimhood.

    The most infuriating thing about the Mormon force behind Prop 8 is this: i have yet to meet ANY gay Mormons who plan on getting married in an LDS temple. I’ve never met any. EVER.

    I know many gay ex-Mormons, and I dont’ know any gay people who are still LDS followers who have the orbs to ask to be married in an LDS temple.

    Quite simply, Gay Marriage will not be an issue for the LDS. Gay Mormons don’t have the orbs to demand Equality from their chosen cult, more still will remain closeted and marry women and give birth to 3 or 4 gay children themselves, others will leave the LDS and find free-thinking lives, and then there’s the many young LGBT Mormons who simply commit suicide.

    Check out the suicide stats in Utah for males between 15 and 25…

    So yeah, we’re glad you stepped down. Bigotry is not part of the Olympic Spirit.

  5. TicoSF says

    May we have many beautiful and strong-willed gay and lesbian children and grandchildren, and may he be forced to depend on them for his health and well-being. A-men!

  6. wds says

    I’m surprised the committee didn’t release a “we were shocked, shocked to discover his views … we take this matter very seriously …” statement.

    Seriously? How could the committee NOT have known his views beforehand?

  7. flattopSF says

    Vidmar hasn’t learned much about FRIENDSHIP and RESPECT if he supported the biggest and most draconian piece of hate legislation in modern America. Maybe he ought to look up those words in a dictionary and re-learn how to apply them in his life, instead of only paying attention to the hate that his Mor[m]on masters blandly bleat from their pulpits.

  8. Rowan says

    B-Rod, really? You thought he was cute? He does look 60 to 70, not 50!

    Couldnt care about his age though, it’s his cookie cutter look. How wholesome!

  9. says

    And yet again, the effeminate guy speaks truth and effects change.

    I love it when the sissy wins. We owe so much to those who didn’t have the opporunity to hide behind a pseudo-masculine demeanor.

    Of course, it’s also true that the IIOC has never been particularly concerned with human rights. Their charter’s language is pretty, but bears little resemblance to their history.

  10. nick says

    The next mission you go on Petey is to find the truth for yourself. Reject the magic underwear cult, grow a pair and think for yourself instead of following a contrived, idiotic message from a criminal.
    And by the way if it weren’t for Utah wanting to become a state- the LDS would still sanction polygamy – so which tradition are you honoring?

  11. Danny says

    The world has changed, Mr Vidmar, but you have failed to change with it. Time to smell the coffee: some of those athletes you say you care about so much are boys who want to marry boys and girls who want to marry girls. If your heart does not grow you will find the world to be an uglier and uglier place. Even your own church is at least starting to address the reality that Mormons can be gay.

  12. Joe in CT says

    The lesson here for Mormons and others like them is to keep your “personal religious beliefs” to yourself.

    I’ll defend your right to whatever you want to personally believe, but when you seek to impose your religious beliefs on other Americans, you step outside the realm of the personal and into the harsh light of public discourse — where your beliefs will be judged and, in this case, deemed bigoted and ultimately unacceptable.

    Thank you for stepping aside. It was the right thing to do and I wish you the best.

  13. Codswallop says

    Wah, wah, wah. Once again an adherent of a “religion” created by a convicted con-man, the 19th century Beta version of Scientology, is set on imposing his religious judgments on others.

  14. James says

    Ask the average American citizen wether they believe A) two men can romantically fall in love, or B) do they think God lives on a planet called Kolob as mormons believe.

    I’d like to see the results of that poll.

  15. Disgusted Gay American says

    ..IF your Mythology is more important to you then reality…then its your problem. I eff’n sick of peole interjecting thier religion into all aspects of civic life.

  16. Paul says

    “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.

  17. PLAINTOM says

    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.

  18. Frank says

    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.

  19. Bill says

    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.

  20. Codswallop says

    “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?

  21. rjp3 says

    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.

  22. anon says

    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.

  23. Bill says

    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.

  24. phil says

    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.

  25. Bill says

    “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.

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