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NewsOpinionReaders Respond

There are good reasons to boycott the Winter Olympics in Russia

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Kevin Rector made some good arguments for not boycotting the Sochi Olympics, but he is overlooking some important issues ("Why boycotting Winter Olympics in anti-gay Russia isn't the right move," Aug. 1).

First, the law prohibiting gay propaganda is an adjunct to a recently passed law that prohibits gay people from adopting children.

Both these laws are based upon a scientific fallacy that the citizenry accepts as doctrine. It's untrue he lie that gay people are a threat to children.

On top of that is a law that is so ambiguous that it means whatever its enforcers want it to mean. Therefore, it effectively re-criminalizes homosexuality in the Russian Federation. There are rumors that Russian President Vladimir Putin's next move is to remove children from gay parents.

Criticism of Russian officials apparently is also a criminal offense.

Two Russian lawmakers requested prosecutors to launch a criminal case against a prominent Russian gay rights activist over his tweets. They complained to the Russian prosecutor general's office that Nikolai Alexeyev posted rude and offensive remarks about them while commenting on the adoption of the so-called "gay propaganda ban."

If all this wasn't bad enough, it seems that the Russian government is encouraging its anti-gay fringe element. I am particularly upset at the violence and derision directed at gay teens — as if life in Russia wasn't difficult enough for them. Skinheads and other miscreants are attacking gays at will, seemingly with impunity.

One minority group has lost freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and the right to be who they are. As a Jew, I loathe comparisons to Nazi Germany, but I am clearly reminded of the Nuremberg Laws of 1935.

Those laws too were based on racial pseudo-science. At the time, the Jewish population of Germany was under 500,000.

More than seven million LGBT individuals are living in the Russian Federation. They are being devalued as human beings and that could have terrible consequences.

I feel for the athletes, but they will survive. Some of Russia's gay citizens may not.

David Cary Hart, Miami Beach, Fla.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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