Russia 'Clarifies' Anti-Gay Propaganda Law In Letter To IOC
The Russian government penned a letter to the International Olympic Committee today, per the IOC's request that the country "clarify" its anti-gay legislation.
Personally, we're just as confused as ever.
The Russian government assured the IOC on Thursday it will not discriminate against homosexuals during the Sochi Olympics, while defending the law against gay "propaganda" that has provoked an international backlash.
The IOC received a letter from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak giving reassurances the host country will comply fully with the Olympic Charter's provision against discrimination of any kind.
"The Russian Federation guarantees the fulfillment of its obligations before the International Olympic Committee in its entirety," Kozak said.
However, Kozak did not back down on the issue of the new law, which penalizes anyone who distributes information aimed at persuading minors that "nontraditional" relationships are normal or attractive.
The law applies equally to everyone and "cannot be regarded as discrimination based on sexual orientation," Kozak said.
The letter still leaves open the question of what would happen to Olympic athletes or fans if they make statements or gestures that could be considered propaganda.
In his letter, Kozak said the legislation does not impose any restrictions on sexual orientation, and stressed the Russian constitution prohibits discrimination against anyone based on sex, race or religion.
The law on gay propaganda, he said, centers on the "restriction of information that promotes non-traditional sexual relationships among children."
"These legislations apply equally to all persons, irrespective of their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, and cannot be regarded as discrimination based on sexual orientation," he said.
The letter added: "These requirements do not attract any limitations for participants and spectators of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi on their legal right of residence in the territory of the Russian Federation or participation in any events stipulated in the Games program that are contradictory to the Olympic Charter or universally recognized standards of international law on human rights."
Kozak's letter came after IOC President Jacques Rogge asked the Russians for further clarifications on the law and how it could impact on the Sochi Games.
"We have today received strong written reassurances from the Russian government that everyone will be welcome at the games in Sochi regardless of their sexual orientation," Rogge said in a statement.
The letter was addressed to Jean Claude-Killy, the French IOC member who heads the coordination commission for the Sochi Games.
It's still not clear if an athlete or spectator could be prosecuted for wearing a badge or rainbow pin or waving a small flag in solidarity with gay rights. Political gestures of any kind are also prohibited by the IOC.
Well, IOC Pres. Rogge certainly seems satisfied (though we doubt George Takei will be).
What do you think, Instincters? Feeling any safer? Are things more "clear"??