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Obama: No tolerance for Russia treating gays, lesbians differently at Olympics (video)

Aug 7, 2013, 6:07 AM EDT

President Barack Obama was clear on his stance against Russia’s anti-gay law and how it should (or shouldn’t) affect the Sochi Olympics in an interview on “The Tonight Show” that aired Tuesday night.

“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,” Obama said. “I have no patience for countries that try to treat gays and lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.”

Russian news outlet explains the Russian law here:

The legislation “prohibiting propaganda of homosexuality to minors” was enacted on June 30, when it was signed by president Putin. It’s an amendment to the law “On protecting children from information harmful to their health and development”.

If found guilty of promoting “non-traditional sexual relationships”, individuals could face fines of up to 5,000 rubles (US$150). The sum would be multiplied by 10 if those individuals appear to be civil servants. Organizations, meanwhile, would have to pay 1 million rubles (about $30,000) or have their activity suspended for 90 days if they do not comply with the fresh amendment.

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko told R-Sport last week that the law would be enforced during the Olympics, but other Russian officials have said the Games will be exempt.

The International Olympic Committee said two weeks ago it “received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games.”

Obama echoed that sentiment.

“I think (Russian president Vladimir) 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,” he said. “They’re athletes. They’re there to compete. 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. People’s sexual orientations shouldn’t have anything to do with it.”

Shaun White takes break from band to train for Sochi

  1. florida727 - Aug 7, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Sorry, but I don’t see anything wrong with Russia’s policy regarding amoral behavior. Read the language cited in the article. It doesn’t prevent someone from BEING a homosexual, it just prevents them from influencing minors, who are impressionable, from following their lead. Face it, political correctness aside, gay/lesbians are abnormal. They are not what God intended for human relationships. Read the Bible. It’s pretty clear what God thinks of homosexuality. Russia’s law is designed to “protect children”. That in and of itself should tell you that homosexuality is wrong, if you have to PROTECT someone from it.

    • anthonybrycegraham - Aug 7, 2013 at 2:51 PM

      I’m friends with a Gay couple, raising a boy from Compton California and there is not a Gay bone in that boy’s body. He loves women. There’s no influencing him to be gay. And there’s nothing to protect him from. It’s okay that you use the Bible as the law surrounding the morality of homosexuality. But the truth is people are born that way. People like what they like they think what they think. And God made those people. And those people should be allowed to do as they please.

      In the Bible, since we’re talking about the Bible, and not the Torah, Jesus, says to love one another as I have loved you. This was right before he was going to die and I think he realized some things about love. And too often people make other people wrong for their actions based on their own judgements (and we all have them). But it’s a huge discipline to adopt the Christ Consciousness of loving people unconditionally, even loving yourself unconditionally. I challenge you to try to love people without any conditions of who they are and what they do without trying to change them or control them, which a lot of Religions try to accomplish. Maybe God is saying something else that you’re missing. He made everyone, you believe. Maybe he’s saying something totally different and you’re blinded by you’re judgements. Maybe I’m wrong.

      • carryingconcealed - Aug 7, 2013 at 8:08 PM

        “…you are violating the basic morality that I think should transcend every country,” Obama said.

        The thing is, Russia isn’t “violating” anyone’s morality with this law since there is a distinct contradiction between morality and homosexuality. They are, however, doing what they feel they need to do to “preserve” the morality in their culture/society.

        I hope they expand this law to include prison time for any homosexual PDA. As a matter of fact, they could just exile them to Siberia. Maybe they can freeze the perversion out of them.

  2. mogogo1 - Aug 7, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    The part I find objectionable is the fact the IOC is perfectly happy just as long as the laws don’t get enforced against Olympians or spectators. That’s incredibly sad. The IOC is the most amoral group around. As long as the Sochi checks clear and they can keep a safe distance from the scandal, they wouldn’t care if Russia were executing gays.

    • Matthew - Aug 7, 2013 at 2:57 PM

      That’s it in a nutshell, Mogogo. As long as the check clears and the money rolls in, Jacques Rogge & Co. could give a flying flip about human rights or the Olympic spirit. Maybe the IOC should change its’ logo from “the Five Rings” to “the IOC: See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil”.

  3. zapainhurtzalot - Aug 7, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    “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.” said Obama.

    Hey Odumbo, this is going to be the WINTER Olympics. Don’t think you’re gonna see any balance beams or swimming pools LOL.

  4. fubar77 - Aug 7, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Florida, keep your religious fantasies to yourself. There is no God, the bible is a book written by men and reinterpreted over and over again. Nothing there worth buying into. Think for yourself. Live your life and mind your business. If there is a God, he doesn’t care if people are showing love to one another. He is likely more against the hate that you spew.

    Religion will be the downfall of this world. The major religions can’t even agree on stuff. Why? Because it is all made up!

    • smillr58 - Aug 7, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      Hey fubar FF, I find your post offensive!

    • carryingconcealed - Aug 7, 2013 at 11:45 PM

      “Religion will be the downfall of this world.”

      Correction, fubar, it is liberalism that will most assuredly rot this country from the inside out. Religion is essentially impotent in the 21st century and only bothers you atheist liberals because . . . well . . . everything bothers you apparently.

      Yes, I recognize that Muslim extremists have become a bit pesky with their hero worship of the pedophile Mohammed and jihad and all that stupid neanderthal, cave-dwelling bullsh!t, but eventually the evolved societies of the world will tire of them and drive them and their putrid body odor back into the sewers that spawned them.

      On the bright side, liberals will have company . . .

  5. laserw - Aug 7, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    I think America’s dictator should give his Russian counterpart the same slack that was afforded to the liar in chief. After all, it took this Dictator in Chief over four years to find it in his heart to change his anti-gay marriage sentiments and it took him years to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Barack Hussein Obama needs to cut Putin some slack – Putin is doing more to protect American privacy rights than Obama is – at least through Putin we’ll get the goods on the KGB like aspects of the Obama administration. I think privacy rights of all Americans trumps how homosexuals are treated if they are athletes. Who cares if we don’t get to see any pathetic figure skaters?

  6. mogogo1 - Aug 7, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    The funny part about the first comment is that florida727 must believe he’s straight only because no homosexual activists got to him to “influence” him to be gay.

  7. Urso Chappell - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:06 AM

    I’m surprised I haven’t seen it mentioned in the media that, in addition to the Winter Olympics, Russia is right now bidding to host the world’s fair in 2020.

    In November, delegates from around the world will choose between Ekaterinburg, Russia; Dubai, UAE, Izmir, Turkey; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

    • mogogo1 - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:50 PM

      Honestly, if there were any sense about these things, those events would come as a package deal to keep places from having to do extra infrastructure for nothing. But plenty of things don’t make sense in the world.

      I wonder if the World’s Fair sells itself to the highest bidder like the Olympics?

  8. 1historian - Aug 10, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    Fair question – What is our leader going to do if they ARE treated differently?

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