IOC’s Rogge Wants Clarification Over Russia Anti-Gay LawsDanielle Rossingh
International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge is seeking clarification from Russia on an anti-gay law which has led to worldwide protests ahead of next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Russian President Vladimir Putin last month signed a law enacting a ban and maximum fine of 1 million rubles ($30,438) on “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” among minors. Foreign citizens charged under the law face as long as 15 days in jail and deportation.
On Aug. 1, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said the law will be enforced during the 2014 Winter Games, which start on Feb. 7 in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
“The law was adopted and we received assurances from the head organizer of the Sochi Olympics,” Rogge said at a press conference in Moscow on the eve of track and field’s world championships. “We asked for and received the assurances in writing but we are still seeking clarifications on two paragraphs in which we are not clear about the translation of the Russian law.”
The measure has sparked global controversy, from calls for a boycott of the Sochi Games by British actor Stephen Fry to gay bars in the U.S. dumping Russian vodka. U.S. President Barack Obama criticized the law three days ago, saying he had “no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.”
Rogge, a former yachtsman from Belgium who will retire from the IOC next month, said the rules of the Olympic Charter needed to be respected.
“The charter is very clear,” he said. “Sport is a human right and should be available to all regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation.”