Russian laws problematic for 2014 Olympics
The upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are drawing ire across the US due to the country’s Draconian anti-gay legislation, which passed in June. The law was against the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations,” with a unanimous 436 vote by parliament members in favor of the law. The law also imposes fines of up to $31,000 for providing information about the GLBT community to minors, for holding Pride and human rights events, and for comparing same-sex and different-sex relationships in any fashion.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has already announced that the Pride House, which is exclusively for GLBT athletes and their families, will not be in the Olympic Village in an effort to protect gay and lesbian athletes.
Additionally, IOC President Jacques Rogge said while the Russian government provided written re-assurances that the anti-GLBT propaganda law will not apply to the Olympics, some elements are “still too unclear to pass judgment.”
Cause for concern are the comments made by Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who insisted that Olympic athletes would “have to respect the laws of the country” during the Sochi Games.
New Zealand Legalizes Gay Marriage
On April 17th, New Zealand’s House of Representatives passed legislation (Marriage Amendment Act) to legalize same-sex marriages, effective August 19th. Just last week, New Zealand’s department of international affairs said that around 1,000 marriage applications were downloaded, 170 of which were from neighboring countries. New Zealand is the 13th country to allow same-sex marriage.
Attack on Montenegro Pride
Montenegro’s first-ever Pride event was marred by violent anti-GLBT protests. According to the Associated Press, several hundred people threw rocks and bottles and shouted “kill the gays.” Police intervened, detaining more than 20 people, and the event was ultimately able to continue.
While Interior Minister Rasko Konjevic praised the police for preventing “more serious clashes,” the incident might block Budva’s bid to become part of the European Union.