Olympic Trial

Pride House at 2014 Winter Olympics Deemed Way Too Risky for Russian Sovereignty to Bear

The homophobic news just keeps on pumping from Russia: Yesterday in the southwestern resort town of Sochi, home to the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics, the full text was released from an appeals court decision that last month upheld a ban on local gay rights groups from creating a Pride House, similar to those at Vancouver in 2010 and planned for the Summer Olympics this year in London.

The language of the court’s decision was shocking in its gay-hating bluntness: It said the Sochi Pride House’s goals “undermine public morals and are at odds with national policy on the family, motherhood and children.”

By putting forth “propaganda of nontraditional sexual orientation,” the Pervomai district court of Krasnodar further ruled, Pride House could have spawned a decrease in Russia’s already low birth rate, thereby “undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Russian Federation.”

And the court wasn’t finished. For good measure, it labeled the Pride House “extremist,” since — get this — its attempts to combat homophobia would “incite social and religious hatred.”

The Pride House’s simple aim had been to provide athletes and spectators of the Sochi Winter Olympics with “an objective source of information on the LGBT movement in Russia and the world.”

The February 2014 games in Sochi will be the first Olympics in the Russian Federation. The 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics were the first and last in the now defunct Soviet Union.

In other rampant Russian homophobia happenings this week, a Russian Orthodox Church official hailed Saint Petersburg’s new “gay gag” bill on Monday, and called for similar legislation to be adopted nationwide “without delay.”

“The law passed in Saint Petersburg will help protect children from information manipulations by minorities promoting sodomy,” said Dimitri Pershin, the church’s representative on family and youth issues, in an interview with the Russian news agency Interfax.

Photo by Christine Rondeau