After mounting concern about how Russia's anti-gay law would affect athletes headed to next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, the International Olympic Committee has finally released a statement saying it will "work to ensure" no discrimination against LGBT participants.
"The International Olympic Committee is clear that sport is a human right and should be available to all regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation," the statement reads. The organization also says it will make sure "the Games can take place without discrimination against athletes, officials, spectators and the media."
Several LGBT advocacy groups called for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics following last month's passage of a Russian law that bans "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations." Activists have raised concerns that the law's vague language gives Russian authorities plenty of leeway in determining just what "propaganda" means, with some worried that public declarations of same-sex love could result in fines or jail times.
Out athletes have reason to be concerned too: Foreigners can be fined, detained and deported for violating the law (though Tilda Swinton did so earlier this month with no reported consequence). Which means the IOC has a lot of work to do. Because let's face it: What would the Winter Olympics do without people like Johnny Weir?
Skating along to other news...
- Hail Britannia! In case you missed it amid all the royal baby frenzy, Queen Elizabeth gave her formal seal of approval to the legalization of same-sex marriage in England and Wales, giving you one more reason to lampoon the ruling monarch in drag at next year's Pride.
- Speaking of the royals, our friends over at GPhilly asked a handful of Philadelphia drag queens to name England's royal baby, and they're all better suggestions than odds-on-favorite "George."
- Meanwhile, in places more nearby but occasionally as foreign, Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli has made the state's anti-sodomy law a key component of his campaign. Cuccinelli, currently Virginia's Attorney General, says the law is necessary to protect children from predators -- even if it has been deemed unconstitutional.
- In more news from across the border, a recent Quinnipiac poll shows exactly half of Virginia voters supporting same-sex marriage and 43 percent opposed. So maybe Virginia really is for lovers.
- In Colorado, a transgender teen successfully settled a lawsuit alleging discrimination from his healthcare provider because of his gender identity.
- Fox News talking head Bill O'Reilly doesn't think same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. Also, the sky is blue and water is wet.
- Openly gay driver Stephen Rhodes wants to make a comeback to NASCAR, and Fox Sports wonders whether the sport is ready.
- You know who is ready for openly gay athletes? UFC, whose first-ever bout between two gay fighters will air on Fox next weekend.
- Looks like HBO wants to do for gay men in the 2010s what Showtime did for gay men in the 2000s. Openly gay actor Jonathan Groff, who will star in the network's yet-to-be-titled series, told the San Francisco Chronicle "the show hopefully will express all facets of gay life. ... It's the gay experience." Here's hoping that means more than "Queer as Folk" with Grindr.
- And in this week's "just going to leave this here" news, Miley Cyrus is honored that you think she's a lesbian. But, you know, she's not.
What news have you been talking about this week?Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun