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The state-owned Russian news agency RIA Novosti published an article today announcing that the Russian government has assured the International Olympic Committee that they will exempt foreign athletes and spectators from their new discriminatory law restricting LGBT people from doing everything short of breathing while gay.

As a sporting organization, what we can do is to continue to work to ensure that the Games can take place without discrimination against athletes, officials, spectators and the media,” the IOC said in an emailed statement.  

“To that end, the IOC has received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games.”

The IOC added that “this legislation has just been passed into law, and it remains to be seen whether and how it will be implemented, particularly as regards the Games in Sochi.” While the law’s proponents argue that it is aimed at protecting children from harmful influences, critics allege that the move is part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community. Russia has come under international criticism, including from the European Court of Human Rights, for its treatment of gay people.

Of course, at the onset of the article, RIA Novosti felt compelled to offer the following disclaimer for their Russian readers, so delicate are their impressionable children.
This article contains information not suitable for readers younger than 18 years of age, according to Russian legislation.
Gee, thanks for not sending the likes of Johnny Weir to jail for ice skating while fabulous.

To be frank, this moves me very little. It is a positive development, I suppose, that Russia has seen fit not to toss LGBT foreigners and their supporters attending the Winter Olympics into a gay gulag for wearing a rainbow flag pin. However, this does nothing to address the human rights abuses that are ramping up to a fever pitch against their own citizens. Tacit permission from the government as well as the ever-loving Russian Orthodox Church has given bigots and bullies leave to terrorize gay people to their heart's desire. Whether or not the enlightened world now feels comfortable attending the Sochi Olympics, Russian LGBT people will continue to suffer at the hands of their own government. Slapping on a temporary friendly face to avoid international incidents during their time on the world stage does absolutely nothing to right the grave wrongs happening in their country.

VIA: Joe. My. Gody and Towleroad

Originally posted to Steven Payne on Fri Jul 26, 2013 at 11:03 AM PDT.

Also republished by More and Better Democracies.

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