Toronto Diary
1 min

Athletes and fans might NOT be immune to Russia’s anti-gay laws

A few days ago, I reported on the International Olympic Committee’s claim that athletes and fans attending the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi would be exempt from Russia’s anti-gay laws, thus making it safer for foreign Olympians to compete.

Except it turns out they might not be immune after all.

According to The Huffington Post, Vitaly Milonov, the politician responsible for Russia’s gay propaganda bill, is now claiming that there’s no legal grounds for temporarily lifting the law for the sake of the Olympics.

In an interview with Interfax, Milonov stated:

"I haven’t heard any comments from the government of the Russian Federation, but I know that it is acting in accordance with Russian law. And if a law has been approved by the federal legislature and signed by the president, then the government has no right to suspend it. It doesn’t have the authority.”

Perhaps most disturbing out of this recent interview with Milonov is the claim that he has “spoken with many American politicians” and that “they support the stance I’ve taken on this issue.” He also cites support from German legislators surrounding the anti-gay crackdown. 

Say what you will about the Winter Olympics — they’re a more boring version of their summer counterpart! What’s the point of curling? The biathlon is misleadingly named! — but the point of it is to foster unity among nations.

Enforcing a law that makes it illegal to be publicly pro-gay is a terrible way to do that. I understand that some countries have different cultural practices and such, and we have to be respectful of them. However, when you make a bid for the Olympics, it’s kind of implied that you’re welcoming the world into your country. This is a fucking piss-poor way of doing so. If this is how you treat your own citizens, maybe you shouldn’t be hosting the Olympics. Ever.