Thursday, August 1, 2013

It is not about the safety of Olympic participants and guests - It's about human rights

Some in the media are content to refer to "Russia's law against homosexual propaganda." Some are then satisfied by the assurances of the International Olympic Committee that participants and attendees will be safe.

First some facts:

On its face this law is offensive and the product of ignorance. The government of the Russian Federation has enacted a law to prevent gay people from recruiting children. This law says that gay people would recruit children except for the presence of this law. A companion law also prohibits gay couples from adopting. Putin has publicly stated that the purpose of this ban is to prevent child molestation.

The official position of the government of the Russian Federation is that gay people present a clear and immediate threat to children. That is bigotry per se. Furthermore, the law is so ambiguous that it has the effect of re-criminalizing homosexuality. Indeed, several legislators have called for the prosecution of an activist because some of his tweets were critical of the government. A basic component of a free society is the right to disagree and the right to protest against the government's policies free of fear. Putin has effectively silenced any opposition to his anti-gay laws.

As for the safety of participants and guests; That cannot be guaranteed. An ambiguous law is on the books. That law makes the Russian Federation unsafe. Assurances are meaningless while that law is on the books.

US Participation:

Even if we had a guarantee of safety, don't we have an obligation (along with other nations) to send a message that the Russian Federation is persecuting a minority group and that such persecution will not be tolerated? Aren't we being silent in the face of a gross human rights violation? Harvey Fierstein writes:
In 1936 the world attended the Olympics in Germany. Few participants said a word about Hitler’s campaign against the Jews. Supporters of that decision point proudly to the triumph of Jesse Owens, while I point with dread to the Holocaust and world war. There is a price for tolerating intolerance.
At the time the prevailing Nuremberg Laws were similar to these anti-gay laws. They were, and are, based on untrue and unscientific stereotypes presented to the public as irrefutable doctrine.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be civil and do NOT link to anti-gay sites!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.