olympics / russia / USA

US Congress concerned over Russia’s anti-LGBT laws

A group of 40 US Congressional representatives has sent a letter to the US Olympic Committee inquiring about the safety of American athletes competing in the Sochi Winter Games.

Initiated by openly gay California Congressman Mark Takano and U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen  (Republican, Florida), the letter draws attention to Russia’s LGBT rights record that includes a law banning “gay propaganda” to minors.

According to the Washington Blade, the letter’s signatories express their concern “about the treatment of athletes and spectators traveling to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics who disagree with Russia’s violation of the human rights of LGBT people.”

“We call on the US Olympic Committee to ensure that any American athlete, or someone associated with an American team, is afforded the right to show solidarity with LGBT people around the globe to be free of discrimination and harm.”

US Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun told reporters last week the U.S. Olympic Committee would support efforts to bolster anti-discrimination provisions within the Olympic charter. IOC President Thomas Bach earlier on Monday told All Out Executive Director Andre Banks in a letter his organization “will do everything it can to ensure” the Sochi games and any future Olympics “will be free of any form of discrimination.”

Bach did not specifically say whether the Olympic Charter explicitly opposes discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in his letter to Banks.

(Source: Washington Blade, 7 Oct 2013)



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