American track and field star Nick Symmonds has become the first athlete to
criticise Russia’s new anti-gay lawswhile competing on Russian soil.
After he won a silver medal at the World Championships yesterday, Symmonds told R-Sport he was dedicating the win to his gay and lesbian friends.
He said, “As much as I can speak out about it, I believe that all humans deserve equality as however God made them. Whether you’re gay, straight, black, white, we all deserve the same rights. If there’s anything I can do to champion the cause and further it, I will, shy of getting arrested.”
Five months before the Winter Olympics in Sochi, worries continue to grow about how the laws will impact athletes.
The law, which is one of a series of anti-gay laws passed by the Putin regime, bans “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.”
Even among Russians, it’s unclear what exactly that means. Some have suggested that any pro-gay speech or even hand-holding could get you arrested and fined thousands of dollars.
Foreigners arrested under the law face 15 days in jail and deportation, according to Bloomberg.
The IOC has asked Russia to clarify whether athletes would be arrested.
Symmonds won’t be competing in Sochi, but we’re guessing this sort of sentiment will be repeated by a ton of athletes.
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