George Stephanopoulos won the battle for the coveted one-on-one interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Among the topics covered during the interview, which aired recently, was the impact of Russia’s anti-“propaganda” law on the Olympic Games. The law, enacted in June of last year, effectively rubber-stamps homophobia, and leaves Russia’s LGBT community even more vulnerable to violence, all in the name of child welfare.
The anti-”propaganda” law says is that the promotion of propaganda of “nontraditional sexual relations” to minors is illegal. More specifically, Russians can be prosecuted for distributing information to minors that is aimed at creating nontraditional sexual attitudes, makes nontraditional sexual relationships attractive, creates an interest in nontraditional relationships, or equates the value of a traditional relationship with a nontraditional relationship. And, because almost any form of speech or written expression could theoretically makes its way into the hands of minors, this is widely understood as a crackdown on almost all forms of expression. In fact, prosecutions that are already happening seem to be happening without any proof that any minor was actually impacted.
In the face of a global event of unity, peace, and sport, how did President Putin justify the anti-”propaganda” law to Stephanopoulos? Let’s hear from the man himself:
Photo: Japan Times
2) “Everybody is absolutely equal to anybody else, irrespective of one’s religion, sex, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Everybody is equal”
Putin is trying to dodge the nondiscrimination clause in the International Olympic Charter with this answer. But let’s be clear on this, this law ensures members of the LGBT community do not have equal rights. In Putin’s Russia, equality doesn’t include freedom of expression or speech.
Photo: Huffington Post
“The Russian people have their own cultural code, their own traditions. We don’t interfere. Don’t stick our noses in their life. And we ask that our traditions and culture are treated with the same respect.”
I find it hard to believe that the Russian people really want hate to be part of their cultural code. But that’s exactly what the anti-”propaganda” law does, it codifies homophobia. “Human rights be damned, we must respect cultural tradition!” probably isn’t the best tagline for the Sochi Tourism Board.
Photo: Salon Russia
“Russia does not criminally prosecute people for being gay, unlike in over one-third of the world’s nations.”
If President Putin had paid attention in his freshman logic class I’m sure he’d know that this attempt at misdirection doesn’t hold water. That aside, Putin says Russia won’t criminally prosecute for being gay. The point is that it does, in effect, prosecute people for being gay and that, depending on enforcement could amount to de facto criminalization.
Photo: Japan Times
“Acts of protest and acts of propaganda are somewhat different things.” and “protesting a law does not amount to propaganda of sexuality or sexual abuse of children.”
Well, that clears that up then. If you protest the anti-”propaganda” law then you’re in the clear. Just don’t mention why you’re protesting the law, hold a rainbow flag while doing it, or even think about doing it around a minor.
Photo: Huffington Post
Better luck next time, Putin.
Photo Courtesy: Human Rights First
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