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Russian Sports Minister: Sochi Athletes Will Be Subject To Anti-Gay Laws

Mister_MutkoDespite recent assurances from the IOC that LGBT athletes competing at the 2014 Sochi Olympics would not be subject to Russia's anti-gay laws, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko warned today that athletes and visitors will not be given any special exemptions from the nation's anti-gay propaganda laws that make it a crime to spread "homosexual propaganda" to minors. According to AFP, Mutko remarked:

"The law talks not about banning a non-traditional orientation but about other things, about propaganda and implicating minors...

"No one is banning a sportsman with a non-traditional sexual orientation from going to Sochi. But if he goes out onto the street and starts to make propaganda, then of course he will be brought to responsibility.

"As a sportsman, he should respect the law of a country," Mutko added. "Come (to Sochi), but don't get young people involved, don't make propaganda. This is what we are talking about."

Mutko's statement comes a day after the U.S. Olympic Committee released a letter recalling the Olympic Charter's prohibition on discrimination of any kind. The letter also promised that the U.S. Olympic Committee would work closely with the IOC and U.S. State Department to ensure the safety of "every American in Sochi." The IOC, which previously secured assurances from "the highest level" of Russian government that LGBT athletes and vistors would be able to attend the Sochi games unmolested, has yet to comment on Mutko's statements. No doubt Mutko's imperative will impact how and if athletes attending the games will protest Russia's anti-gay laws. Previously, out gay speedskater Blake Skjellerup had pledged to wear a rainbow pin at the games to 'stand up for what he believes in.' It is unclear at this time how Mutko's remarks will affect the debate on boycotting Russian products and the games themselves.


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  1. this is gonna get messy. troubling. very troubling.

    Posted by: fsinsd | Aug 1, 2013 1:52:58 PM

  2. Now what do you say, USOC?

    Posted by: PDX Guy | Aug 1, 2013 1:56:20 PM

  3. Back to Vancouver for 2014!

    Posted by: E. Thor Carlson | Aug 1, 2013 1:59:51 PM

  4. Well, surprise, surprise...NOT. This not unexpected statement from the official Ruskies' sports spokesman will go over like a turd in the IOC punch bowl. Let's see them (and NBC) squirm their way outta this homophobic debacle. Yes, let the PR machines start working overtime. Hint: it won't make any difference to the IOC and NBC buying into this homophobia from the USSR - oops, I mean - newly-democratic Russia.

    Posted by: HadrenoughBS | Aug 1, 2013 2:01:52 PM

  5. @ "But if he goes out onto the street and starts to make propaganda"

    Oh, so that's what I was doing back in the 1970s cruising Broad Street at 2:00am in morning.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Aug 1, 2013 2:05:18 PM

  6. The IOC cannot guarantee anything, especially because Russia is willing to apply the law. Very intelligent move to arrest the tourists...

    Posted by: lukebrux | Aug 1, 2013 2:05:26 PM

  7. The IOC must move the Winter Games to a civilized country that respects human rights. I suggest they return to Vancouver, which has all the venues left over from the 2010 Games. Canada is a beacon for human rights.

    Posted by: Jay | Aug 1, 2013 2:08:55 PM

  8. They just can't contain their homohatred.

    Posted by: SFshawn | Aug 1, 2013 2:09:33 PM

  9. Games need to be moved somewhere else, wheres the petition?!

    Posted by: Johnny | Aug 1, 2013 2:11:05 PM

  10. This issue needs to go to a higher level than a vodka boycott.

    Posted by: Marty | Aug 1, 2013 2:12:23 PM

  11. Entirely predictable since these sports guys are actually politicians. Of course, now that he's said this athletes and visitors can test the limits of this law and see how it goes over. I'm going to predict that the IOC will cave into the Russians and if any athlete is caught protesting they will be kicked out of the games and stripped of their medals. Visitors will be kicked out and barred from future Olympic games.

    Posted by: anon | Aug 1, 2013 2:14:58 PM

  12. Our laws set George Zimmerman and Casey Anthony free. We have our laws, Russia has theirs. This isn't a paint your face "NoOn8" situation. Gays aren't loved enough to stop the Olympics.

    Posted by: Jake | Aug 1, 2013 2:19:08 PM

  13. Just moved the Games to any other suitable hosts. That way, they Sochi will have wasted all their efforts infrastructures and preparations for the games, not to mention all the hotels and local business’ loss.

    Posted by: AndyTowlette | Aug 1, 2013 2:20:04 PM

  14. This is like a ticking time bomb. So you're going to ask the entire world to remain silent while you persecute your own citizens.

    While we're over there why don't we just help them build giant convection ovens.

    Posted by: Mark | Aug 1, 2013 2:20:21 PM

  15. I guess we'll see what is the priority for IOC.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Aug 1, 2013 2:22:09 PM

  16. The IOC must move the 2014 Olympic games to a civilized country. There are a whole lot of good alternatives. Moving the games would be a well deserved slap in the face, to that backward authoritarian country.

    Posted by: andrew | Aug 1, 2013 2:23:30 PM

  17. From a culture that has done nothing but rape Eastern Europe, committed brazen acts of anti Semitism and other atrocities for the bulk of the 20th century you would expect nothing else. Dictator Putin has spoken and the last soviet, the original one follows in totalitarian obedience. I feel nothing but sadness and pity for GBLT Russians and hope they escape to the west at some point. Propaganda indeed, the Kremlin has a PhD in that one.

    Posted by: Rich | Aug 1, 2013 2:25:04 PM

  18. What exactly is propaganda? If an out athlete tweets "happy to be the first gay athlete to win the X sport" will he be arrested? Will he be arrested for holding his partner's hand? None of this makes any sense whatsoever

    Posted by: reality | Aug 1, 2013 2:34:22 PM

  19. Is there still time to choose a better location? I hope so. Russia needs to me made aware that this is NOT okay, because they are clearly unable to recognize it in their own.

    Posted by: Lucas H | Aug 1, 2013 2:39:47 PM

  20. Is there still time to choose a better location? I hope so. Russia needs to me made aware that this is NOT okay, because they are clearly unable to recognize it in their own.

    Posted by: Lucas H | Aug 1, 2013 2:39:48 PM

  21. Simply wearing a rainbow t-shirt is probably enough to get you arrested in Russia

    Posted by: QJ201 | Aug 1, 2013 2:40:12 PM

  22. Cold War ring a bell? This is discouraging and frightening. We've got to act decisively and quickly. Mere boycotts of Russian products aren't enough. Political action is vital - for the Russian LGBT community - and the world at large.

    Posted by: Geoff | Aug 1, 2013 2:40:23 PM

  23. OK, who is still against boycotting these games? Are there still Gay activists and athletes who are willing to play Putin's rigged game?

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Aug 1, 2013 2:42:21 PM

  24. dear figure skaters, you all have to skate to Born this Way.

    just 'cuz.

    also, rainbows rainbows everywhere.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Aug 1, 2013 2:44:07 PM

  25. Hate to break it to ya folks ... Olympics will never be able to be moved. The Olympics is a profit-making corporation that receives millions of dollars from the host country in order to be the host for the games.

    The IOC is not about to say "Hey Russia. Here's your $110 million dollar licensing fee back. Vancouver? Pony up."

    As to the question of being caught holding hands or kissing your same gender partner in public? Yes. They will be arrested. .. and for wearing rainbow anything.

    Posted by: Aaron Yeagle | Aug 1, 2013 2:50:29 PM

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