Senate resolution calls on Olympic officials to condemn Russian anti-gay law

Sun. August 4, 2013 9:00 AM by

Washington, DC - Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, plans to introduce a resolution calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to condemn an anti-gay law recently approved in Russia ahead of the Winter Olympics to be held in Sochi early next year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in June signed a law that prohibits the public promotion of gay rights. The nation's "gay propaganda" law prohibits the positive portrayal of gay men and lesbians in a venue where minors might be present, effectively outlawing everything from Gay Pride marches to the simple act of wearing a rainbow pride pin in public.

Despite assurances from IOC officials that the law would not be in effect during the Winter Olympics, two Russian officials this past week said that it would.

Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said that the law would be enforced during the Sochi Games and St. Petersburg Deputy Vitaly Milonov said that the government cannot selectively enforce the law. A third official, Igor Ananskikh, the head of the Russian Duma Committee on sports, said that the government would yield and do the "politically correct" thing.

According to, Merkley will introduce the resolution when the Senate returns from its August recess.

"With increasing attention being paid to Russian's deplorable treatment of LGBT people, we applaud Senator Merkley and efforts in Congress to shine a spotlight on this issue and the cloud that hangs over the Sochi Olympic Games," Human Rights Campaign spokesman Michael Cole-Schwartz said.

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