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International Olympic Committee Stands By Russian Assurances Gays Won't Be Prosecuted

The International Olympic Committee says it is "standing by" reassurances from Russia that athletes and visitors to the Sochi 2014 Games will be exempt from its anti-gay laws in the wake of warnings from Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko that they would be prosecuted, USA Today reports:

Adams"We rest with comments made directly to us by deputy PM Kozak," IOC spokesman Mark Adams wrote in an email Thursday, referring to Russian deputy prime minster Dmitry Kozak.

Olympic champion Greg Louganis is the latest public figure to speak out against Russia and what he called a "hearbreaking an heinous" law, telling the paper that he hopes Putin will follow his heart.

The U.S. Olympic Committee has also made assurances that The Olympic Charter prohibits any form of discrimination. Whether Russia abides by those guidelines remains to be seen but recent actions, in which tourists and protesters have been arrested, provide little reassurance.

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  1. Let's make this clear: gay people's lives are under threat in Russia. The IOC made a terrible mistake by giving the Winter Games to Russia. Rumor has it that bribes were paid to the IOC to secure the games for Russia.

    Posted by: Adam | Aug 2, 2013 9:08:44 AM

  2. Meaningless, of course. Got to protect the money. As for what Greg Louganis said, if Putin really "followed his heart" - then all of Russian/visiting LGBT people would rounded up, jailed, tortured and even killed. What "heart"?

    Posted by: Geoff | Aug 2, 2013 9:16:36 AM

  3. Sochi will be the safe haven, is that it? Every where else is a killing field of Gay citizens. IOC why won't you state the terrible nature of the law?

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Aug 2, 2013 9:20:52 AM

  4. The IOC is making a promise they have no power to keep. Unless Putin and his legislature change the law, gay people and their allies are at risk.

    Posted by: Houndentenor | Aug 2, 2013 9:25:40 AM

  5. The IOC needs to STAND UP to this...if anything to exonerate the organization for looking the other way in the past for violating human rights (Nazi Germany...even China more recently)

    Posted by: QJ201 | Aug 2, 2013 10:03:13 AM

  6. This supposed exception to a standing law is a very strange assertion...never mind the awful contrast it provides to the treatment of those who must face living outside the context of the Olympics. Harvey Fierstein is right. It's time to end profiteering and power-grabbing by those who demonize us, including, apparently, the Russian variety of fundamentalist Christians which seems to be spearheading this medieval project.

    Posted by: Tom Chicago | Aug 2, 2013 10:12:48 AM

  7. The IOC is based in greed and corruption. The 1936 Nazi Olympics prove that and the hemming and hawing now prove nothing has changed.

    Posted by: Jeff | Aug 2, 2013 10:16:17 AM

  8. I have a sad feeling this is all turning on legal phrasing. They are promising to not arrest and jail people for being gay. Just for admitting, openly acting, or doing anything that "promotes it". Nothing from Russia or the IOC's statements protect that. The only thing the statement is promising is to not prosecute for BEING gay. The law is very specific in Russia. It is legal to be gay, just not to talk about it, "act" it outwardly, or discuss it.

    Posted by: Nemo | Aug 2, 2013 10:18:37 AM

  9. Move the games. The IOC is a bunch of pansies.

    Posted by: jleo71 | Aug 2, 2013 10:18:46 AM

  10. Don't they realize that's not enough? Here is a message for the IOC: grow some balls.

    Posted by: Rafael | Aug 2, 2013 10:45:02 AM

  11. The IOC is clearly delusional and in complete denial. If anybody is attack they better be held responsible for it. Thank you IOC for empowering the next Hitler.

    Posted by: RMc | Aug 2, 2013 10:49:02 AM

  12. As the Canadian official said, the Olympics are a few weeks out of the athletes' lives. The bigger tragedy is that for those gay and lesbians who live in Russia, it will be a lifelong battle. For the Olympics to be so myopic and just look at finding an 'exception' for the duration of the games is pathetic. If the Olympics are truly about fostering good will among nations and among those nations' athletes, then the IOC will speak out and not tolerate such discriminatory actions by the Russian government.

    Furthermore, the IOC is making the false assumption that Putin and his government are reasonable people. Recent history has shown that to be false.

    Posted by: Scrammy | Aug 2, 2013 11:01:31 AM

  13. 'Olympic champion Greg Louganis is the latest public figure to speak out against Russia and what he called a "hearbreaking an heinous" law, telling the paper that he hopes Putin will follow his heart.'

    The problem here is that Putin *is* following his heart.

    Posted by: Profe Sancho Panza | Aug 2, 2013 11:18:42 AM

  14. Right. As if anyone believes that the (IOC) has any power to protect anyone. Assurances from these guys are not enough. How are they going to do it? Olympic police? It's silly, if it wasn't so threatening.

    What are they going to do when the first gay visitor or athlete gets beaten or jailed or even killed for wearing a "propaganda" T-shirt? What are they doing about this now and it's already happening.

    This is going to get very ugly before it gets any better.

    Simply the wearing of a rainbow pin, or a bracelet can get you arrested, fined, jailed and deported? And that's if you don't get beat-up or killed by the Russian police or street thugs in the process. Unbelievable.

    And while you (the IOC and the Olympic advertisers I might add) want me to attend and support the games as if nothing is happening?

    Olympic spirit? Not so much.

    Madonna was banned and fined for handing out bracelets at a concert? Pussy riot 2 years in jail?

    Our government, including Obama, Kerry, Biden, Clinton, and our allies/ supporters from ALL countries, who already stand on the side of Human Rights and equal protection need to speak out directly to Putin and make a strong statement against this so called law to "protect the children". Call out the BULL@#$%!

    This law is vague, open to interpretation and in direct contradiction to what the spirit of the OLYMPICS is all about, and continuing with these games with this set of circumstances in the "host" country is OUTRAGEOUS.

    It shouldn't matter how much money has been paid or that even one new building or village has been built, if LBGT Russian or visitor lives are at risk.

    Boycott the Russian Olympics on the grounds of equal protection and human rights, or change the host country but if that doesn't happen make these Olympics the "gayest" ever.

    Unfortunately, I don't hold out much hope that the games will be changed at this point but I want to remind Mr. Putin that the world will be watching and we know how to work a stage!

    International shame on the Putin government by mass protest and pressure should be number 1 on the agenda. They can't arrest everybody.

    Shame on the IOC and the Putin government. They brought this on themselves.

    Posted by: Will | Aug 2, 2013 11:24:22 AM

  15. The US will denounce Russia for harbouring Snowden but remains totlaly silent as gay men and wome and their supporters are assualted and threatened. Guess we know where the priorities are. Going after someone who said what was already a well know fact and not going after people for blatant violence against people. We should boycott the olympics in Sochi. Sorry athletes, but I don't think "suspending" the law for 14 days does anything significant and the Russians already feel they have carte blanche to go after gays. It's dispicable that our politicans have said nothing.

    Posted by: david from Edmonton | Aug 2, 2013 1:31:51 PM

  16. A corrupt sports organization? Say it ain't so. From the sexist NFL to the extorting NCAA to the drug-ridden MLB, how can you be shocked by that.

    The Olympics will go on as planned and the IOC will just rattle their finger at Russia but not do anything. Unless nations boycott the games, nothing will change.

    Posted by: Sam | Aug 2, 2013 3:04:46 PM

  17. It is telling that the IOC has not spoken out against the anti-gay laws in Russia, nor has Coca Cola or the other sponsors.

    Posted by: tom | Aug 2, 2013 4:02:32 PM

  18. When are we going to see male couple ice dancing?

    Posted by: Randy | Aug 2, 2013 5:48:38 PM

  19. Keep gays out. They evindely have heart of God, but have never read what he wrote. Romans 1:27 says, "men with men working that which is unseemly"

    Posted by: Gordon Bane | Aug 2, 2013 6:18:55 PM

  20. Shucks! You were having so much more fun before this latest announcement. But of course it's so much more satisfying to not let go and keep bitching. What's happening with your marriages? Have they gone Cheyenne so fast?

    Posted by: Garth | Aug 2, 2013 11:29:24 PM

  21. Shucks! You were having so much more fun before this latest announcement. But of course it's so much more satisfying to not let go and keep bitching. What's happening with your marriages? Have they gone Cheyenne so fast?

    Posted by: Garth | Aug 2, 2013 11:29:24 PM

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