President Obama finally spoke out against Russia’s anti-gay laws during an interview with Jay Leno on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” Tuesday saying that he has “no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.”
LENO: Well, something that shocked me about Russia — and I’m surprised this is not a huge story — suddenly, homosexuality is against the law. I mean, this seems like Germany: Let’s round up the Jews, let’s round up the gays, let’s round up the blacks. I mean, it starts with that. You round up people who you don’t
— I mean, why is not more of the world outraged at this?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’ve been very clear that when it comes to universal rights, when it comes to people’s basic freedoms, that whether you are discriminating on the basis of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation, you are violating the basic morality that I think should transcend every country. And I have no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.
Now, what’s happening in Russia is not unique. When I traveled to Africa, there were some countries that are doing a lot of good things for their people, who we’re working with and helping on development issues, but in some cases have persecuted gays and lesbians. And it makes for some uncomfortable press conferences sometimes. But one of the things that I think is very important for me to speak out on is making sure that people are treated fairly and justly, because that’s what we stand for. And I believe that that’s a precept that’s not unique to America, that’s something that should apply everywhere. (Applause.)
LENO: Do you think it will affect the Olympics?
THE PRESIDENT: I think Putin and Russia have a big stake in making sure the Olympics work, and I think they understand that for most of the countries that participate in the Olympics, we wouldn’t tolerate gays and lesbians being treated differently. They’re athletes, they’re there to compete. And if Russia wants to uphold the Olympic spirit, then every judgment should be made on the track, or in the swimming pool, or on the balance beam, and people’s sexual orientation shouldn’t have anything to do with it.
Of course this isn’t an “official” White House Presidential denouncement, and it only took a late night talk show host to get Obama to say anything on the anti-gay human rights abuses happening in Russia, but at least he finally said something.
And as for President Obama not having ” patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.” Then I am sure that at the White House signing the Executive Order against LGBT discrimination as we speak.
* Russian and its anti-LGBT laws discussion begins at the 6:00 mark.