Kremlin Cannot Promise to Lift ‘Gay Propaganda Ban’ at Sochi (Kommersant, Russia)
Can Russia hold the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi without enforcing local laws against ‘homosexual propaganda’? According to this news item from Russia’s Kommersant, not only is it unlikely that such laws can be legally abrogated, but at least some local political leaders defiantly insist that events like the Olympics are precisely the time to enforce them.
For Kommersant, reporter Yana Pashaeva writes, quoting a number of Russian figures, starts off this way:
The law banning homosexual propaganda will have no impact on participants and guests at the 2014 Olympics Games in Sochi. Russian authorities have offered a government-level guarantee to the International Olympic Committee along these lines. The story was first reported by USA Today. The IOC stated that organizers “will continue to do everything possible to ensure that the Games go ahead without discrimination against athletes, officials, spectators or journalists.” However, government edicts can have no influence over existing legislation, points out Mikhail Salkin, founder of the Moscow Human Rights Center.
“A suspension of federal law can only be accomplished by the passage of new federal law or the imposition of martial law. It can therefore only be done by the commander-in-chief – the president of the Russian Federation. Rather, this was a perfunctory diplomatic exchange between states, a way of clearing things up to put our foreign partners more at ease. They have a somewhat inaccurate conception of the legislative changes that have been put in place. This law is not intended to discriminate against one person or another. It simply imposes restrictions meant to limit damaging influences on minors” Salkin explained.
Earlier, members of the Moscow LGBT movement declared their intention to hold a gay pride march in Sochi on opening day of the Olympics. This is further proof that the law must operate in full force during the sporting event, according to Deputy Vitaly Milonov of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly.
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