Homosexuality's Impact on the Olympics

In February 2014, the Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia. Similar to some other nations, Russia has a strict policy against homosexuality, unlike the United States, which not only accepts homosexuals, but is in the process of giving them equal marriage rights. President Barack Obama is one of the many Americans who accept homosexuals, which has caused a conflict between America and Russia over the Olympics. Very few government officials, including President Obama, have decided to attend the Olympics in Sochi, and many people believe that this is because Obama has a problem with the homosexuality policy in Russia. Russia has recently changed its policy in preparation for the Olympics by banning homosexual propaganda and the spread of it to citizens under the age of 18, calling it non-traditional sexual behavior.

Foreigners were also listed in this law, with both fines and even deportation listed as consequences of expressing homosexuality. These laws are very strict compared to American policies, which is believed to be the reason that the president will not attend. In addition, three openly homosexual athletes will be attending. These are Billie Jean King, Caitlin Cahow and Brian Boitano. It is theorized that this is meant to make a statement on the behalf of the United States homosexuality policy.

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Although the United States does not treat homosexuals equally yet, government officials, including President Obama, do not support the way Russia treats its homosexuals. To make this belief known, the highest government officials representing America at the Olympics are Janet Napolitano, former Homeland Security secretary and current president of the University of California; Michael McFaul, American ambassador to Russia; and William J. Burns, deputy secretary of state. Many people believe that this is because the United States thinks badly of Russia’s policies and does not want to be a part of anything to do with the strict homosexuality policy. With the Olympics beginning soon, Russia does not seem to be impacted by the lack of an important government official from America and America does not seem to be changing its mind about sending a higher representative.

This tension between Russia and the United States could end up becoming a problem for the Olympics if nothing changes.