Russia not fit to host 2014 Olympics

Russia repeatedly made headlines this summer when on June 30 President Putin, with the unanimous backing of the State Duma, passed a controversial law.

The bill banned the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors.” Or as The Atlantic Wire reports, basically the distribution or promotion of any information that displays, “gays and lesbians as ‘normal,’ and gay and lesbian relationships as ‘socially
equivalent’ to heterosexual ones.”

The law has made gay pride parades illegal in multiple cities within the country, including Moscow. It has implemented large fines for citizens and foreign visitors within the country who are accused of “pushing this propaganda.” And as a result violent attacks on gays or those suspected to be gay has become common, according to an article published on

While our own country is far from free of discrimination against members of the LBGT community, my heart breaks for the people of Russia. I think about the victories that have happened in our country, especially in the last couple years, in moving toward equality. I think about that moment last May when marriage became a reality for same sex couples in Minnesota and how unbelievably proud I felt to call myself a Minnesotan on that day.

I think about, despite often disagreeing with our president, how great it feels to live in a country with a leader who openly supports all kinds of love. Or even the fact that as I drive in my car Macklemore’s “Same Love” often plays on the radio.

The steps that our country continues to take towards love being the law for all makes me proud to be an American. And as we get so consumed in moving our own country in the right direction it’s easy to look at equality as a domestic issue instead of an international one. Thank goodness we have Russia to remind us.

Unfortunately Russia does not stand alone on the world stage with these horrid laws that condemn freedom of love. But there is something that, at the moment, makes
Russia different.

The 2014 winter Olympics, which will convene in February, are set to take place in Sochi, Russia. The idea of the games being held in a country that has made it clear in the past few months that intolerance and discrimination are on its agenda is making people upset, and rightfully so.

It raises important questions like how LBGT athletes will be treated when in Russia, and it also forces the very integrity of the games to be in question.

An article published on said it best with the statement, “a government that wants to uphold an intolerant law and the support of a sporting organization whose own mission statement calls on it to promote tolerance and understanding of all kinds of people.”

The Olympic games are, in my opinion, the greatest spectacle in sports, but they are so much more than that. It is a time that for sixteen days every two years the world comes together. People the world over are inspired. Inspired by the athletes and the magical idea that maybe we aren’t all that different.

Moments like watching Tahmina Kohistani became only the third Afghani woman to participate in the games in 2012 are forever imprinted in my mind. Moments like these make it seem like the world is moving forward toward equality.

A country that is intolerant and discriminatory is not a place to host such a powerful and inspiring event.

Russia hosting the games seems to say their recent actions are okay. Where the games takes place plays such a role in the event. Cultural aspects of the host country are always displayed throughout broadcasts. For those sixteen days it is as though you are transported to the host country. I for one do not wish to be transported to a country that is moving backwards and making discrimination law.