Should the U.S. Boycott the 2014 Russian Olympics?
By Neal Broverman
After the lower house of Russia’s Parliament passed the “non-traditional relationships propaganda” law earlier this month by a 436-0 vote, activists are setting their sights on the increasingly homophobic nation.
Though the measure still needs to be approved by Parliament’s upper house and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin, it is expected to pass easily by the end of the month. Under the so-called gay propaganda law, any foreigner who is perceived to be promoting homosexuality would face a jail sentence of 15 days and deportation.
While the International Olympic Committee says out athletes will still be welcomed at Sochi, the Black Sea city hosting the next Winter Olympics, many are still concerned.
A new petition calls for the U.S. to formally boycott Sochi: "We petition the obama administration to: Boycott the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi Russia. On June 11 2013, The lower house of the Russian Parliament, The Duma, unanimously passed a dangerous anti LGBT bill which imposes jail terms and hefty fines for holding gay pride rallies or providing information about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to minors. These laws are already in place around Russia and the bill, the first national measure, is expected to pass the upper house and be signed into law by President Putin. The Russian Ministry of Justice has already banned the LGBT "Pride House" at the Sochi games. We call on our government to take a firm stand against such blatant, dangerous, and indeed ultimately violence-promoting forms of nationally-sacntioned discrimination and boycott the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi Russia if this bill becomes law."
The petition needs 100,000 signatures by July 11 — will you sign it?