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President Obama to Leno: 'I Have No Patience' for the Persecution of Gay People in Russia - VIDEO


President Obama appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night and offered a broad interview on a number of current topics, one of which was the current situation with Russia. After a discussion of the Edward Snowden NSA case, Leno expressed his dismay at Russia's anti-gay laws, and wondered why it isn't a bigger story?


My transcript below:


"This seems like Germany - let's round up the Jews, let's round up the gays, let's round up starts with that. You round up people you don't like. Why isn't more of the world outraged at this?"


"I've been very clear that when it comes to universal rights, when it comes to people's basic freedoms, that whether you are discriminating on the basis of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, you are violating the basic morality that should transcend every country, and I have no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.”

Obama then brought up the situations he encountered on his recent trip to Africa:

"What's happening in Russia is not unique. When I traveled to Africa there were some countries that are doing a lot of good things for their people, who we're working with and helping on development issues but in some cases have persecuted gays and lesbians and it makes for some uncomfortable press conferences sometimes but one of the things that I think is very important for me to speak out on is making sure that people are treated fairly and justly because that's what we stand for and I believe that's not a preset that's not just unique to America but should apply everywhere."

When Leno asked him if it would affect the Olympics, Obama replied:

“I think Putin and Russia have a big stake in making sure that the Olympics work, and I think that they understand that for most of the countries that participate in the Olympics we wouldn’t tolerate gays and lesbians being treated differently. They are athletes. They are there to compete. If Russia wants to uphold the Olympic spirit, then every judgment should be made on the track or in the swimming pool or on the balance beam and people’s sexual orientation shouldn’t have anything to do with it."


Here's the Russia discussion:

Here's part 1 of Leno's interview:

And Part 3:

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    Posted by: James Lavin | Aug 7, 2013 7:23:25 AM

  2. Obama lies.

    Posted by: eric | Aug 7, 2013 7:28:30 AM

  3. Once again , thank religion.

    Check out an org called courage, and its group for parents, encourage

    Also see Baltimore's latest catholic review

    Posted by: rick scatorum | Aug 7, 2013 7:38:02 AM

  4. If the President is really concerned with fairness and not treating LGBT individuals differently, then the President should be working with other countries to pressure the IOC to MOVE the Olympics out of Russia!
    Please sign the petition...

    Posted by: Metcalfed | Aug 7, 2013 7:54:48 AM

  5. One can easily tell his lack of patience by how vigorously he has used his vast diplomatic power to actually do something.

    Oh, wait....

    Words. As always when it comes to gay issues, all we get are more damned words and nothing else.

    Posted by: Seattle Gregg | Aug 7, 2013 7:57:45 AM

  6. It's easy to attack and criticize the President for not doing enough but at the end of the day, he's done more for this community that any other U.S. President in the history of the country. People praise Clinton and put him on a pedestal but he was the one who not only signed DOMA into law, he bragged about it afterward in ads [ya, ya now they say he didn't know about them...] in the Southern states so he'd get more votes. Obama could do more, yes. But let's not forget how much he's already done.

    Posted by: Gigi | Aug 7, 2013 8:10:54 AM

  7. If you think the Olympics will be moved at this late of a date you're crazy. Where was the outrage and call for boycotts when the Olympics were held in Beijing?

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Aug 7, 2013 8:14:49 AM

  8. Brian, there was outrage about Beijing. Every week there was a new article somewhere about the human right violations of China and how it ran counter to the Olympic Spirit. Then the opening ceremonies happened and everyone went, "Oh, Look! Shiny!" And that was that.

    Posted by: yuninv | Aug 7, 2013 8:29:18 AM

  9. Thanks President Obama for bringing up Africa. The stuff in Russia is terrible but stuff like this has been going on in Africa for a while, but they're *black* so...

    It's been in the back of my mind when thinking about this Russia situation; where's the outrage over Uganda? Zimbabwe?

    Posted by: Munro | Aug 7, 2013 8:30:26 AM

  10. Putin laughs his ass off at this wet sponge.

    "I have no patience." Well, what did strongly worded letters and frowns from Secretary John Kerry get Obama with a Moscow airport "resident" James Snowden? It got snickers from Putin and release and asylum for him.

    Posted by: MIke | Aug 7, 2013 8:44:39 AM

  11. Seattle Greg, you must be a deaf mute if you think this president is full of words when it comes to our community. I have a don't-read-the-comments policy when it comes to posts about Obama, black people or gay people because of the yt people who think he's a Muslim and the gay yt people that think he's some kind of wizard. Oh, poorly veiled racism.

    Posted by: Munro | Aug 7, 2013 8:45:09 AM

  12. I mean, have you seen congress? (Go vote midterms people: 2014 AND 2016. )

    Posted by: Munro | Aug 7, 2013 8:52:36 AM

  13. Why is he talking about swimming pools and balance beams in Sochi?? He does realise it's the Winter Olympics, right?

    In the US, it seems you have a president with great ideas, but no teeth in congress and in the UK, we have a right-wing, poor-hating, immigrant-bashing, spin-doctoring, public [independent] school-attending, arrogant, privileged pr*ck of a Prime Minister who makes unilateral decisions that leave the most vulnerable in the gutter while the rich float above us on cloud 9. I'd rather have Obama than David "call me Dave" Cameron.

    Posted by: Jack Ford | Aug 7, 2013 9:29:10 AM

  14. Again, World Championships will being next week in Moscow, but everyone is talking about the winter games.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Aug 7, 2013 9:31:52 AM

  15. I'm really sick of some of the professionally negative posters who perpetually demand more and more from the President. First of all: WORDS DO MATTER. His WORDS made a hell of a lot of difference to gay teenagers watching the show on television. If Mitt Romney were Presidnet you chronic complainers might actually have something to complain about.

    We demand, we demand, we demand, yet we give little back in return. The President gets jerks like the posters above who are insufferably self-centered, who DEMAND things like spoiled children stamping their foot and throwing a tantrum. THIS COULD HAVE BEEN ROMNEY AND COMPLETE SILENCE ON THE ISSUE. Show just a bit of gratitude please and stop taking all the time without thinking of giving back.

    Posted by: will | Aug 7, 2013 9:39:50 AM

  16. so if obama say's pro gay comments in a press conference in russia, will he be arrested?

    Posted by: anon | Aug 7, 2013 9:40:13 AM

  17. @ANON - excellent rhetorical question and we know the answer. The question will likely come up during the first press conference in the RF and it will be interesting to see/read RF's response.

    Posted by: Belthazar | Aug 7, 2013 10:17:25 AM

  18. Anon, Obama has sovereign immunity, unlike ordinary citizens. The worst they could do to him is declare him persona non grata, requiring him to leave the country.

    Posted by: Craig | Aug 7, 2013 10:22:26 AM

  19. MUNRO: You racist prick! There is homophobia everywhere. If anything, I'm glad that there is equal press on Russia as there was in Uganda awhile ago. It shows that homophobia comes in all colors.

    Posted by: Misty | Aug 7, 2013 10:22:49 AM

  20. @Misty - "You racist prick" - How are you any different with that comment? Answer: you're not! He (assuming) has every right to question why the [LGBT] community didn't call for boycotts and other remedies against those African countries. If he's is wrong, I'm sure someone will step-up with the evidence and show him otherwise.

    Posted by: Belthazar | Aug 7, 2013 10:37:45 AM

  21. Brian, there was outrage about Beijing. Every week there was a new article somewhere about the human right violations of China and how it ran counter to the Olympic Spirit. Then the opening ceremonies happened and everyone went, "Oh, Look! Shiny!" And that was that.

    POSTED BY: YUNINV | AUG 7, 2013 8:29:18 AM

    I refused to watch Beijing's Olympics. The amount of squeeing over Beijing's opening ceremony was appalling. I remember exactly what you are talking about. Humans are fickle.

    Posted by: Zeta | Aug 7, 2013 11:16:25 AM

  22. ...unless, they are whistleblowers!

    Posted by: Mikey C. | Aug 7, 2013 12:59:43 PM

  23. How am I racist for bringing up race?? LOL, typical response.

    Posted by: Munro | Aug 7, 2013 1:52:06 PM

  24. Never knew the Winter Olympics had swimming pools. This would have been something the press would have grilled George W. Bush about.

    Posted by: bernard | Aug 7, 2013 1:57:53 PM

  25. @MIKE: it is a bit more complicated regarding Snowden. Russians living in the U.S. have told me that one of the things about the request to extradite him is that Russia has made similar requests to the U.S. For example, Russia wanted us to extradite some Chechnyans who were in the U.S. and whom the Russians considered to be criminals/terrorists (the Chechnyans of course viewed themselves as "freedom fighters" trying to overthrow a repressive regime). So it was partly, "If you won't give us the guys we want, we won't give you the guy you want."

    Unfortunately, there isn't a reliable algorithm for determining whether a person is a "freedom fighter" or a "terrorist".

    Posted by: Bill | Aug 7, 2013 2:04:44 PM

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