By Clarissa Toll |Staff Writer|
Russia’s new anti-gay law has stirred controversy surrounding their imminent hosting of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
This new law prohibits the discussion of gay rights, as well as homosexual relationships, anywhere children may be present. The law excludes propaganda that supports pro-gay philosophies.
If this law is broken the offender will be fined, and if a foreigner, he or she will be deported.
The law clashes with the International Olympics Committee’s view on gay rights.
In an interview about the new law, the IOC President Jacques Rogge said, “The Olympic charter is very clear: it says that sport is a human right and it should be available to all, regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation and the games themselves should be open to all, free of discrimination.”
U.S. Olympic Committee CEO, Scott Blackmun, focuses on the law being out of the organization’s jurisdiction.
“The athletes are always going into countries with laws different than his or her own country,they’re going to agree with those laws in some ways, they’re going to disagree with those laws in other ways and It’s our strong desire that our athletes comply with the laws of every nation that we visit. This law is no different,” said Blackmun.
Rogge has confirmed the committee received written confirmation that the law will not be held against athletes in the Olympics.
Although there being still uncertainties on specific sections of the document certain students believe that the law is not for the IOC to debate or contradict.
“I am an advocate for LGBT rights. However, I feel that the laws imposed in Russia are a part of their own rights as a country,” said student Adrian Valadez.
“It is up to the people of Russia to determine their stand on equal rights for themselves despite my disagreement. The Olympics should be politically neutral and should be a gateway to world unity,” added Valadez.
Olympic Athletes from all over the world have also been speaking out.
In her interview with The Washington Post, two-time U.S. figure skating champion Ashley Wagner said, “I really believe we all should have equal rights. I obviously do not support the legislation in Russia, but it’s not my place to go into Russia and tell them how to run their country.”
While the controversy continues to be debated, some Americans have questioned if the U.S. should support the games.
In fear of Americans boycotting the Games because of the new law, like they did in 1980 when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, Jim Caple, a writer for ESPN believes if the Americans were to boycott, it wouldn’t produce a positive outcome.
Instead, he believes that more of an impact would be made if Americans were to “show up.”
Student Garrett Botts said, “I would not boycott watching the Olympics even if Russia did not change their stance. I may not agree with their decision, but it is their choice. We should not reprimand another country because they don’t have the same set of beliefs we do.”
The Winter Games are scheduled to be held in Sochi, Russia in February 2014.