Gay Issues

IOC Will Not Fight Russia’s Anti-Gay Law, Meanwhile Russian Parents Ask Putin to Ban Elton John From Performing In Moscow

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

The International Olympic Committee said Thursday that it will not challenge Russia’s ban on gay propaganda, which has been criticized for discriminating against homosexuals, prior to the Sochi Winter Games in February. The IOC said it lacked the authority to criticize a host country's law because it did not specifically violate any Olympic rules.

Chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission Jean-Claude Killy said Russia is prepared to host the 2014 Winter Games at a Sochi news conference, during the commission’s 10th and last visit to the city before the games begin Feb. 7.

Killy said "the IOC doesn't have the right to discuss the laws that are in place in the country hosting the games, so unless the charter is violated we are fully satisfied."

While Russian officials have said the law is meant to protect children and not criminalize homosexuality, parents are asking President Vladimir Putin to ban pop singer Elton John from performing in Moscow and Kazan because they say he violates the anti-gay ban.

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The anti-gay law passed last summer bans "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors.”

While it is unclear exactly what constitutes “propaganda,” many are worried that athletes and those attending the games will learn the hard way.

Since July, conflicting reports were made about how the law will be enforced during the Winter Games. The IOC promised that it would not affect athletes and tourists. A Russian politician said July 30, that the ban can’t be lifted during the games and attendees would be subject to the same laws as Russians.

Elton John is still schedule to perform in Moscow on Dec. 6 and in Kazan on Dec. 7.

Sources: ABC News, Washington Post, IBT