LGBT activists arrested in Moscow

An unidentified man detains gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev in Moscow during a protest against a ban on staging a gay pride parade during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. The protest was held in front of the Sochi 2014 organizing committee building, September 25, 2013. (Tatyana Makeyeva, Reuters / September 25, 2013)

In news as infuriating as it is unsurprising, International Olympic Committee officials said Thursday they were "fully satisfied" that a Russian law barring gay propaganda doesn't violate the Olympic charter's anti-discrimination language, the Washington Post reports.

To repeat: A law engineered under the auspices of preventing gay and lesbian individuals from indoctrinating the youth (I'm reading between the lines here) both in person and through the media is apparently consistent with the Olympic Charter's language on discrimination.

That charter, as of Sept. 9, 2013, says that "any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement."

It also delineates one of the IOC's roles is "to act against any form of discrimination affecting the Olympic Movement" and requires IOC members to take an oath stating they will "fight against all other forms of discrimination."

At this point, nobody expected the IOC to push Russia on this one. The Sochi Olympics start in just over four months. Given what a logistical nightmare staging an international sporting event must be, the Olympic organizing body is not going to do anything that would interfere with its ability to throw a successful Sochi Games. A hitch-free athletic competition has been the IOC's sole focus since outrage first emerged at Russia's anti-gay attitudes. The organization's insistent apoliticism was irksome, but it made logical sense.

But by stating that Russia's anti-gay law doesn't violate a promise to fight against discrimination, the IOC has made both a political move and a nonsensical one. The Olympic Charter language I quoted above doesn't just refer to sports — it refers to "any form of discrimination." And so by expressing its satisfaction that Russia hasn't violated Olympic principles, the IOC essentially suggested that anti-LGBT discrimination isn't really discrimination. As Cyd Zeigler points out at Outsports, Russia itself already indicated as much — but the IOC is an international body that often touts having a codified set of higher standards. Apparently, the committee is not interested in living up to them.

In other news:

  • Ten LGBT activists were arrested in Moscow for protesting Russian President Vladimir Putin's ban on public gatherings near Sochi. The site of the protest: Outside the Sochi Olympics headquarters, a day before the IOC would decide Russia wasn't violating its charter. (I know I said other news. I lied.)

  • The Ohio marriage equality lawsuit originally filed by a couple who was married on the BWI tarmac with hopes that marriage would be listed on one partner's death certificate has been expanded to include all of Ohio's same-sex couples in similar circumstances.

  • Former President George H.W. Bush (that's Bush 1) acted as an official witness for a lesbian couple's wedding in Maine last weekend.

  • Out former boy band heartthrob Lance Bass confirmed recently what we've all known for years: There are "tons of celebrities that are in the closet," and everyone's keeping hush-hush about it. That's fair — outing someone is deservedly taboo — but let's hope Lance is nudging them to be open, out role models for people that find themselves in similarly conflicted territory.

  • The chairman of global pasta company Barilla disparaged "gay families" and attacked adoption by gay parents on an Italian radio show... and then, according to The Independent, uttered the phrase "if the gays don't like it they can go and eat another brand." Uh, newsflash to the macaroni mogul: They will. Ask Chick-fil-A and Stoli.

  • Since Grindr wants gays worldwide to hook up date to their hearts' content, it's considering a legal challenge to Turkey's decision to ban it.

  • With one week before NBA training camps begin, openly gay player Jason Collins has yet to be signed to a team. Collins made headlines this spring when he came out in Sports Illustrated for being the first male athlete in a major American team sport to do so — but at the time, Collins' team had been eliminated from the playoffs and he wasn't technically playing.

So, what LGBT-related news stories have you been discussing this week?