A petition signed by more than 320,000 people calling on the
International Olympic Committee (IOC) to condemn a Russian anti-gay
law ahead of the winter Olympics to be held in Sochi, Russia was
presented to Olympic bosses in Switzerland on Wednesday.
petition calls on Russia to repeal its “gay propaganda” law
ahead of the Sochi Games in February.
The law, signed by President Vladimir Putin last month, prohibits
the promotion of gay rights in a public setting where minors might be
present, effectively outlawing everything from Gay Pride marches to
wearing a rainbow pin in public.
Several Russian officials have contradicted the IOC's assertion
that the law would not affect the games.
sports minister Vitaly Mutko says athletes should “relax” about
Appearing on CNN, Andre Banks, co-founder and executive director
of LGBT rights group All Out, said that his group delivered the
petition to the IOC headquarters in Lausanne.
“What they told us, very interestingly, is that they're pushing
for a signed agreement from the Russians asking that people will not
be persecuted under the anti-gay hate law that's recently come into
effect,” Banks said. “We think this is an important first step,
but certainly we know that this is not far enough. We can't just
have assurances for the two weeks of the Olympics and then walk away
knowing that one of the worst laws in the world is still on the
“Holding these Winter Olympics in Sochi this year under these
laws is like hosting an Olympic Games in Johannesburg at the height
of apartheid,” he later added. “It simply cannot stand without a
major debate.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit
our video library for more videos.)
IOC senior staffers who met with All Out representatives were also
given a letter from British actor Stephen Fry and a second petition
signed by Olympians and athletes, including Greg Louganis, Brendon
Ayanbadejo, and Mardy Fish.
Fry calls for Russian Olympic ban over anti-gay laws.)