Global petition urges IOC to decry Russia's anti-gay laws
By MICHAEL GOLD
The Baltimore Sun|
Aug 07, 2013 | 11:14 AM
LGBT advocacy group All Out is set to deliver a petition Wednesday afternoon that asks the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to condemn Russia's anti-LGBT legislation as the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi approach.
In a statement, All Out says it has collected more than 300,000 signatures, including thousands from Athlete Ally members like Greg Louganis and former Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo and several former Olympians.
"We hope the International Olympic Committee responds to All Out's members and the millions of people worldwide who want Russia to treat all of their citizens with dignity under the law," said Anastasia Smirnova, from the Russian LGBT Network in St. Petersburg.
While the IOC released a statement last month saying it would ensure February's competition would be discrimination-free, All Out's petition looks beyond the Games. The organization asks the IOC to call on Russia to guarantee the security of Russian residents "before, during and after the Games."
"The Olympic ideal is based upon the guiding principles of excellence, friendship and respect," Ayanbadejo said in a statement released by Athlete Ally. "These principles are not something to be compromised by its participants, organizers, or host country. The IOC and allies everywhere need to stand up and speak out."
All Out's petition delivery comes six days after the LGBT Sports Coalition, an association of groups committed to ending anti-LGBT attitudes in athletics, released a statement urging President Barack Obama's administration to work with Russia to repeal "laws criminalizing homosexuality."