Despite the International Olympic Committee’s assurance that gay athletes and spectators would be exempt from Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law, the law’s co-sponsor has said it will in fact remain in force during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. According to Vitaly Milonov, the government cannot selectively enforce the law.
“I have not heard any comments from the government of the Russian Federation but I know it is acting in accordance with Russian law,” Milonov told Interfax, as interpreted by Gay Star News. “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.”
Milonov was responsible for the gay propaganda ban in St. Petersburg, which the entire country later adopted, adding that the law is meant to protect the children and has nothing to do with the “ordinary life of adults.”
The lawmaker went on to say that he personally does not know any LGBT people — shockingly — and maintains that nary a Russian figure skater is a friend of Dorothy (Hamill).
“I can say that the best figure-skating in the world is the Soviet school of figure skating,” Milonov bragged. “All of our people have been brought up in a very traditional way, I am personally acquainted with many Olympic champions. In fact, I practically grew up among many of those families.”
While a boycott of all things Russian including vodka has picked up steam, a White House petition to place Milonov and State Duma deputy Elena Mizulina on a blacklist for entrance visas is still quite a ways from garnering the 100,000 signatures it needs to be considered by Secretary of State John Kerry.
The petition has been endorsed by Russian LGBT activist Nikolai Alekseev, who said last week, “Nothing else will work.” For his part, though, Milonov is not worried about the proposed blacklist, claiming that he’s received support from American politicians.
“Having spoken with many American politicians, I understand that they support the stance I’ve taken on this issue,” he told RIA Novosti.”Such support has also been expressed to me by several members of German parliament.”
The news of the Russian government’s alleged plan to enforce it’s discriminatory law against “non-traditional relationships” may be upsetting to athletes and prospective spectators of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but so what? As visitors, being blissfully exempt from persecution while all around them people suffer the slings and arrows of injustice smacks of not only negligence, but irresponsibility. Whether or not you agree on a ban on vodka or the Olympics, the loss of rights for a few is a loss for all.
And as for there being no gay Russian figure skaters — has Vitaly Milonov seen this shirt? It literally just made this writer so gay that I’m technically straight right now. Thanks, Russia. Dicks.