Good to see this story getting the national attention it should:
This week, comments by a lawmaker from St. Petersburg set off a firestorm online when he said that fans and athletes would not be immune from prosecution during the games [2014 Winter Olympics to be held in Sochi, Russia].
Vitaly Milonov, who sponsored legislation in St. Petersburg last year that became the basis for a national law signed by President Vladimir Putin in June, was quoted telling the Interfax news agency that the law will remain in place during the Olympics and will be applied to foreigners.
Under the law:
Public displays of affection by gays, including holding hands or displaying symbols like a rainbow flag, are now banned. Violators face steep fines and jail time; foreigners face similar penalties plus deportation.
The U.S. administration should ask Russian authorities to guarantee that it will not detain or prosecute gay athletes or spectators from engaging in such activities. Should they fail to be able to guarantee that, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry should say that the US may have to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics. We should not send a team to Sochi if the authorities in the host country cannot guarantee the safety of the athletes — or the freedom of American spectators.