Russian Lawmaker urges Putin to not 'selectively enforce' Anti-Gay Law during 2014 Winter Olympics
|Vitaly Valentinovich Milonov|
By Brody Levesque | MOSCOW, Russia -- A leading member of the legislative assembly of the city and region around St. Petersburg, and a co-author of the national law signed last month by Russian President Vladimir Putin which criminalises public events that promote gay rights, as well as public displays of affection by same-sex couples, is urging the Putin administration to 'refrain from selective enforcement' of the legislation.
Vitaly Valentinovich Milonov told Russian media outlets Interfax and Radio Ekho Moskvy (Radio Echo of Moscow) in separate interviews that he was opposed to any maneuvers by the government that would effectively suspend enforcement of the law.
"I have not heard comments of the Government of the Russian Federation, but I know that it is acting in accordance with Russian law. And if the law is adopted by the Federal Assembly, signed by the President, the government has the right to cancel it. He has no such authority," Milonov said in his interview with Interfax.
Speaking to Radio Ekho Moskvy, Milonov said that the law, "Protection of Children from promoting non-traditional values" [Translated from Russian] does not apply "normal adult life. He added he was not familiar with LGBT athletes personally.
"I can tell you that the best figure skating - is the Soviet school of figure skating. We have a completely traditional all men were personally acquainted with many Olympic champions."
The International Olympic Committee on Friday said it had received “assurances from the highest level” of the Russian government that athletes and spectators attending the the 2014 Winter Olympic games in Sochi are exempt from an anti-gay statue that outlaws “homosexual propaganda.”
Nina Long, co-president of RUSA LGBT, a Russian-speaking LGBT organization based in New York, said last month that “LGBT people in Russia are scared, they live in fear, and we want people to be aware of this issue. If they feel strongly about human rights they should boycott the Olympics in Sochi.”
Moscow based human rights organisation, the Helsinki Group, Lyudmila Alexeeva said that the situation with the rights of homosexuals is worse today than in the West, although better than it was in the Soviet Union.
A White House petition created Sunday asks the Obama administration to bar Milonova along with his co-author of the law, State Duma deputy Elena Mizulina from ever receiving a visa to enter the United States.
The Russian government so far has declined to issue a statement related to the Olympic committee’s announcement or the ongoing controversy.