The International Olympic Committee is fine and dandy with Russia’s much reviled anti-gay propaganda law, ahead of the Winter Games in Sochi next year, since it doesn’t violate its charter. Besides, it’s not like they could do anything about it, according to chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission Jean-Claude Killy.
“The Olympic Charter states that all segregation is completely prohibited, whether it be on the grounds of race, religion, color or other, on the Olympic territory. That will be the case, we are convinced,” Killy said during a news conference Thursday, following the commission’s 10th and final visit to Sochi. “Another thing I must add: the IOC doesn’t really have the right to discuss the laws in the country where the Olympic Games are organized. As long as the Olympic Charter is respected, we are satisfied, and that is the case.”
Russia passed a vaguely-worded law back in June banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors,” which Russian officials — including President Vladimir Putin — claim is not discriminatory, but simply a measure to protect the children.
“Regarding this law, if people of traditional sexual orientation spread propaganda of non-traditional sex to children, then they will also be held accountable,” said Dmitry Kozak, a deputy prime minister overseeing the Sochi Olympics. “So there is simply no need to talk about discrimination.”
That homophobic dog won’t hunt, says Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin, who condemned the IOC’s actions while noting that Russian gay activists were arrested outside the Sochi Olympics committee in Moscow for protesting the law, just a day before Killy asserted his and the IOC’s satisfaction.
“If this law doesn’t violate the IOC’s charter, then the charter is completely meaningless,” Griffin said in a statement. “The safety of millions of LGBT Russians and international travelers is at risk, and by all accounts the IOC has completed neglected its responsibility to Olympic athletes, sponsors and fans from around the world.”