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Obama Addresses Russia's Anti-Gay Laws, Olympic Boycott: VIDEO

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President Obama addressed outrage over Russia's anti-gay laws at today's White House press conference and said he disagreed with calls to boycott the Olympics.

Said Obama:

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.

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.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. Glad to hear this, however we should boycott the Olympic or have them hosted elsewhere.

    By the way the title is misleading. Can be interpreted another way.

    Posted by: Brian | Aug 9, 2013 6:31:04 PM


  2. I agree about the headline, Brian. I read it and thought, "What? Obama calls for Olympic boycott??!!".

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | Aug 9, 2013 6:35:06 PM


  3. so, the problem is russian law and call for a boycott, not the murders, rapes, beatings, arrests, and fines?

    in what fantasy world is this position on human rights violations acceptable?

    Posted by: northalabama | Aug 9, 2013 6:38:14 PM


  4. Except if a gay athlete wins, if NBC follows their usual pattern from past Olympics, they'll hide the fact that athlete is gay.

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Aug 9, 2013 6:41:01 PM


  5. For a president who sought change and transparency, Mr. Obama sure has made a complete 180. Very disappointing.

    Posted by: Rafael | Aug 9, 2013 6:43:53 PM


  6. CNN: No Olympics boycott

    Posted by: Dan | Aug 9, 2013 6:47:27 PM


  7. How is this going to save the Russian LGBT community or other gay athletes and their supporters. Answer? It's not. FAIL.

    Posted by: Geoff | Aug 9, 2013 6:48:07 PM


  8. I never expect Obama to advocate anything that would conflict w the profits of the corporations that own him.

    Posted by: mike flower | Aug 9, 2013 6:49:03 PM


  9. More unfounded bitterness and fantasy thinking, alive and well, along with an apparent lack of reading comprehension skills. Another day in Towleroad comments.

    Posted by: Paul R | Aug 9, 2013 6:55:04 PM


  10. Complete headline fail.

    Posted by: Ray Ivey | Aug 9, 2013 7:02:36 PM


  11. I wonder what Obama would say if Russia introduced laws against blacks. I wonder if he would oppone a boycott in such circumstances.

    From the tone of his comments, it's obvious that the President thinks little of our rights. He treats us as fund-raising fodder and has failed to walk the walk on fundamental issues related to our rights.

    Posted by: Brian | Aug 9, 2013 7:21:40 PM


  12. @BRIAN:

    "From the tone of his comments, it's obvious that the President thinks little of our rights. He treats us as fund-raising fodder and has failed to walk the walk on fundamental issues related to our rights."

    While I have some sympathy with this viewpoint, Brian, I cannot agree.

    America cannot, overnight, change the world all by herself. I would dearly love to see the European Union to take even half as robust a stance.

    President Obama, has arguably, done more for LGBT rights than any other Presient in living memory (even if many find his refusal to sign an ENDA-like policy into place with relation to government contracts).

    Given the very many areas of difference with Russia and many other nations he (and Hilary) have probably done as much with 'soft' diplomacy as is currently possible. Imagine, for a moment any Republican President (bar possibly Fred Karger) - we would see nothing like this kind of engagement on these issues.

    Yes Obama could possibly do more but he has done a hell of a lot.

    Posted by: Mundus | Aug 9, 2013 7:35:30 PM


  13. Um, what's confusing about the headline? Obama addresses Olympics boycott; not Obama approves of Olympics boycott. He addressed it. Did anyone expect him to come out in favor of that? Let's get out of our gay fantasy world. The Olympics are not going to be moved or boycotted.

    Let's bring as much attention as possible to this issue, and that track seems to be working. I think, at least in the lead-up to the Olympics, we have a real chance to shine light on what's going on in Russia. In a way, we should be GLAD the Olympics are in Russia - because once they are over, good luck getting press attention on the gay pogroms.

    And yes, the U.S. deals with lots of countries with anti-gay laws and attitudes. Did Russia invent this, or have we been following such barbarity for many years, in many places?

    By the way, it seems clear to me Obama was talking about Russian gay athletes, as well as American ones. Sure, NBC is likely to conceal the orientation of both. Let's not let up on getting press, and don't let up on holding sponsors and broadcasters to some level of responsibility. But, please, give up on getting the Olympics themselves moved or boycotted. That simply Is Not Going To Happen.

    Posted by: Zlick | Aug 9, 2013 7:41:28 PM


  14. Still, I believe that Brian is right about a more extreme approach in comparing this situation to a fictitious one that the general public could better understand.

    I immediately wondered, too, if he would say the same thing if Russia forbade interracial couples holding hands or publicly exchanging good luck and/or congratulatory kisses at the Olympics (and before and beyond, of course).

    Or like Brian indicated, what if blacks were forbidden to publicly show affection at the games, while whites were free to do so. That's really the kind of scenario we have to use in comparison, in order for them to understand the magnitude of what this truly means. And what it already means for Russians on a daily basis!

    Posted by: El | Aug 9, 2013 7:46:01 PM


  15. Still, I believe that Brian is right about a more extreme approach in comparing this situation to a fictitious one that the general public could better understand.

    I immediately wondered, too, if he would say the same thing if Russia forbade interracial couples holding hands or publicly exchanging good luck and/or congratulatory kisses at the Olympics (and before and beyond, of course).

    Or like Brian indicated, what if blacks were forbidden to publicly show affection at the games, while whites were free to do so. That's really the kind of scenario we have to use in comparison, in order for them to understand the magnitude of what this truly means. And what it already means for Russians on a daily basis!

    Posted by: El | Aug 9, 2013 7:46:56 PM


  16. Is he going to the Olympics? Why doesn't he say that on Russian soil and see if he gets arrested or a pogrom tries to accost him?

    Posted by: woodroad34d | Aug 9, 2013 7:56:00 PM


  17. Russia has gay athletes. They're just afraid for their lives if they speak out.

    Posted by: greenfuzz | Aug 9, 2013 7:56:15 PM


  18. This is not enough. This is NOT enough.

    Posted by: Kile Ozier | Aug 9, 2013 8:05:09 PM


  19. Wish this boycott talk could start right HERE at home! Wish the President could more often publicly admonish our local prejudiced homophobic quacks and the majority of the population united move in boycotting those homophobes, before the ones abroad.

    I swear I've heard more Republicans in the past few weeks sternly talk of boycotting the Olympics, those same who supported the likes of Michele Bachmann, Dennis Guth, Dave Agema, E.W. Jackson, and see no irony in their actions at all.

    Posted by: Maguitac | Aug 9, 2013 8:55:46 PM


  20. Everyone here is acting like there's no precedent for continuing on with already panned Olympics. The USA went to the Olympics in Berlin during WWII when Jews, Gays, etc. were systematically being rounded up and killed. Imagine what a boycott would've looked like if Jesse Owens had not dominated those Olympics?

    Posted by: sugarrhill | Aug 9, 2013 9:37:16 PM


  21. Everyone here is acting like there's no precedent for continuing on with already panned Olympics. The USA went to the Olympics in Berlin during WWII when Jews, Gays, etc. were systematically being rounded up and killed. Imagine what a boycott would've looked like if Jesse Owens had not dominated those Olympics?

    Posted by: sugarrhill | Aug 9, 2013 9:37:25 PM


  22. I have never been a fan of the boycott. Make no mistake, if we boycott the games, the show will still go on and Russia will not change its law. The end result is the US looking like a kid throwing temper tantrum and Putin will only look stronger. There are other countries with far worse anti-gay laws(where gay= death sentence) than Russia yet we do business with them. Are we all willing to pay $10/gal for gas? Because that whats going to happen if we boycott African and Mid-east countries with harsh anti-sodomy laws.

    To the other posters comparing this to black plight, it's easy for forget that Jesse Owens ran in front of Hitler and used his victories to speak out against racism. Gay athletes and our allies have a chance to do the same in the world biggest stage.

    Posted by: Michel | Aug 9, 2013 9:50:46 PM


  23. My dream is for an openly gay U.S. athlete to win gold in a high profile event, an openly gay athlete from another country (but not Russia) to win silver in that event and for Russia to win bronze and for the two openly gay athletes to look down and give a closed fist salute while the Russian national anthem is playing. Gay power!

    Posted by: Bill | Aug 9, 2013 9:58:55 PM


  24. You got what you elected. Face the music.

    Posted by: Dan | Aug 9, 2013 10:40:08 PM


  25. @Dan
    As opposed to Mittens? Go shill at LCR.

    Posted by: JONES | Aug 9, 2013 11:44:32 PM


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