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HRC Slams Putin On ABC Interview, Still Does Not Call For Boycott of Sochi Olympics

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The Human Rights Campaign has responded with a strongly worded press release to the comments made by Vladimir Putin on yesterday’s broadcast of ABC’s This Week.

I am sure Vladimir Putin is quaking in fear.

“Today on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Russian President Vladimir Putin defended Russia’s anti-LGBT law, saying gays and lesbians are not discriminated against in Russia and the law is aimed at protecting children.  Despite Putin’s claim the law does not discriminate, just yesterday a protester was detained for unfurling a rainbow flag during the Olympic Torch relay.  Violence against LGBT Russians has also been on the rise since the anti-gay law was passed last June.

“President Putin’s public interpretation of the country’s anti-LGBT law is beyond comprehension,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.  “This law was designed to do nothing less than secure second class status for LGBT Russians and visitors.  It does nothing to protect children, but goes great lengths to harm families.”  

Putin told Stephanopoulos athletes who protest or wear a rainbow pin will not be prosecuted under the law, noting there is a small difference between protesting the law and violating it.  His statements today contradict those of government officials who last year said visitors are not exempt from.  Under the law foreigners can not only be fined, but also face arrest and up to 15 days in jail, followed by eventual deportation. 

Putin also compared the country’s anti-LGBT law with those of some U.S. states, saying laws are still on the books criminalizing homosexuality.  Stephanopoulos promptly corrected the Russian President, explaining to him the Supreme Court struck down those laws. 

“Americans, and the citizens of the world are against archaic and dangerous laws that single out a group of people,” Griffin added.  “The blatant lie that gays and lesbians are not discriminated at all in Russia only serves to undermine Putin’s credibility around the globe.”

Last year, the law banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” was passed by Russia’s Federal Assembly and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.  Under the guise of protecting children from “homosexual propaganda,” the law imposes fines or jail time on citizens who disseminate information that may cause a “distorted understanding” that LGBT and heterosexual relationships are “socially equivalent.” The fines are significantly higher if such information is distributed through the media or Internet.

To this date the Human Rights Campaign has refused to call for or join in a boycott for the Sochi Olympics, any of its sponsors, or NBC which will be airing the 2014 Olympics.

 

 

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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2 thoughts on “HRC Slams Putin On ABC Interview, Still Does Not Call For Boycott of Sochi Olympics”

  1. Putin is a smart man. He tagged the US right in our soft underbelly, the reality that for all our posturing as a nation we set a pretty poor example when it comes to the treatment of our LGBT citizens. Most of our country still has no laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination. It’s still legal in most states to pick and choose which marriages they want to honor, and to legally deny LGBT people jobs, housing, social services, and access to public accommodations just because we’re LGBT.

    I don’t like Putin or his politics at all, but he does have a point: Considering the terrible example the US sets as a nation on this issue, who are we to tell Russia how to treat their own LGBT citizens?

  2. The HRC will not boycott any big corporation cause they depend on them to donate to the HRC to pay there outrageously big salaries. I stopped donating to them years ago.

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