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Transcript of Olympic Controversy
by: Maddie Hickey
"Really, when it comes to gay rights, there's two wars going on. The first war is political. But the culture war is over."
My Current Events Project is the Olympic controversy due to the new homosexual laws in Russia.
People participating in the games may speak out in opposition to the anti-gay laws as long as they do so in areas that are approved. They must also act in accordance with the Olympic Charter to speak out on any issue including gay rights. A spokesman from one of the countries participating said "It's about finding a balance across three priorities: the requirement we comply with the Olympic charter, that we understand the laws of the country we're visiting, even if we don't agree with them, and recognizing that we believe an Olympic team should reflect the values of the country they represent. In our case that means a commitment to freedom of expression. You won't find us taking a strong stance against any athlete exercising their right to freedom of speech." (The Guardian)
Many powerful people have disagreed with this law. Many of them with in the Olympic games. President of the United States, Barack Obama, said that "every judgment should be made on the track, or in the swimming pool, or on the balance beam, and people’s sexual orientation shouldn’t have anything to do with it." Elton John at a concert said that he was "deeply saddened and shocked" and described the law as "inhumane and isolating". Lady Gaga and Madonna have had similar reactions. Some of these stars have faced fines and even a lawsuit. (The Week)
On the twenty-ninth of July a law was signed by President Putin. This law says that you can not publicly support non man-women relationships. This law is not to stop homosexuality but to stop the publicity of different kind of relationships to people under the age of 18. This is know to activists as "new, dark chapter in the history of gay rights in Russia." (The Week)
What is the law?
What are the Penalties for breaking this law?
Depending on who you are and where you are from there are different punishments. If you are a Russian Citizen and you break it you can be fined up to 5,000 roubles ($150). If you are a public official the fine can get up to 50,000 roubles ($1,500). A gay right group can get up to 1 million roubles ($30,000). If you aren't a Russian citizen you can be charged up to 5,000 roubles, get exiled out of Russia or be put in jail for up to 15 days. if you try to diffuse the information using the internet you are charged with up to 100,000 roubles or be imprisoned for 15 days with a removal from Russia to follow. (The Week)
Olympians Speaking Out on Homosexual Rights
Does The IOC anticipate protests by athletes?
Some very important administrators are very concerned that the Olympics will become very politically influenced. One of these administrators is Thomas Bach. He has advised that athletes should not speak about it during the games. "As an athlete, you do not want to be confronted with any kind of political controversies at the Games." Thomas is a former Olympian himself. He knows from his own experience that getting wrapped up in all the arguments is not a good thing. Thomas was an Olympian for West Germany in 1976 for which he won a team fencing gold medal. (The Guardian)
Who has spoken out about the gay legislation?
What has President Putin said about all this?
Putin has tried very hard to save the idea of the games, with Russia's status is on the line. Putin said that gay athletes would not be mistreated due to the country's laws. "We will do everything to make sure that athletes, fans and guests feel comfortable at the Olympic Games regardless of their ethnicity, race or sexual orientation," Putin told the BBC. "I would like to underline that". (The Week)
In doing this project I learned that lots of people believe in the representation and of homosexual rights. This matters to us because here the exact opposite is happening. Lots of states are legalizing homosexual rights. It also matters because it shows us that we need to stand up for things we don't agree with.
~Clarke, Liz. "Russia’s Anti-gay Law Brings Controversy Ahead of 2014 Sochi Olympics." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 18 Aug. 2013. Web. 13 Jan. 2014.
~Gibson, Owen. "Olympic Rules for Protesting against Russia's Anti-gay Laws Clarified." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 19 Dec. 2013. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.
~"Sochi Olympics: Will Russia's Anti-gay Law Disrupt Games?" The Week UK. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.