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Local News

September 6, 2013

Area activists: Russian gay law is unjust

(Continued)

Said Putin in the interview: ““We have absolutely normal relations and I don’t see anything out of the ordinary here.”

“I think he’s crazy,” said Koury when asked about Putin’s claims. “He has beatings of transgender and gay people going on right under his nose and it’s being ignored.”

The upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, has helped to put Russia’s law into the international spotlight, and some have worried that gay athletes and fans might be subjected to it.

“I would love to see the Olympic Committee pull the Olympics,” said Koury, saying he hopes the location will be changed.

But Koury said he doesn’t favor the United States boycotting the Olympics on its own, because that would hurt U.S. athletes.

“If we boycott and nobody else does, we’d be just hurting our own Olympians,” he said.

Ballantine said she also hopes the venue is changed from Russia, but if it isn’t, she would favor a unilateral boycott for the safety of gay athletes.

“If the venue doesn’t get changed, I wish they would boycott this particular Olympics,” she said. Ballantine acknowledged that such a boycott would adversely affect U.S. Olympians.

Rothbart said such controversies will continue to be present at the Olympics, as the nominally nonpolitical games are held in countries with policies that others dislike. At the same time, she doesn’t see a boycott on the horizon for Sochi.

“I don’t think anyone is really prepared to boycott the Olympics over this,” she said.

For his part, Koury is in favor of exerting economic and international pressure on Russia to repeal the law.

“I would love to see the United States stop importing Russian products until they change this atrocity,” said Koury.

Koury said those wishing to support the LGBT community in Russia should stop buying Russian products, and supports a boycott of Russian vodka that has begun to pick up steam nationally.

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