By Jase Peeples
Originally published on Advocate.com July 30 2013 1:07 PM ET
Vitaly Milonov, the St. Petersburg legislator of the United Russia Party, claims the government cannot suspend the enforcement of Russia’s newly-approved antigay legislation, which he co-sponsored, during the Sochi Olympics, according to BBC’s Russian-language service.
His statement follows on the heels of verbal assurances Russian officials gave to the International Olympic Committee last week, promising foreigners would be exempt from the country’s antigay “propaganda” law during the 2014 winter games.
Milonov’s statement highlights concerns raised by Human Rights Campaign CEO Stephen Burke, who quickly dismissed the statements of Russian officials in a letter to NBC last week, pointing out that verbal assurances do not “guarantee the safety and security of openly-LGBT Olympic visitors.”
According to a translation of the BBC article posted on Joe My God:
St. Petersburg legislator Vitaly Milonov of the [ruling - ed.] United Russia Party has asked the government to refrain from selectively enforcing the law on "gay propaganda," which he co-sponsored. On Friday, the International Olympic Committee informed journalists that the Russian government had assured the safety of all athletes and spectators without respect to their sexual orientation.
"I haven't heard any comments from the government of the Russian Federation, but I know that it is acting in accordance with Russian law. And if a law has been approved by the federal legislature and signed by the president, then the government has no right to suspend it. It doesn't have the authority," said Milonov in an interview with Interfax. Further, during an interview with "Ekho Moskvy" the legislator claimed that the law on "defending children from propaganda of non-traditional values," for which he lobbied, has nothing to do with "the ordinary life of adults" [whatever that means - ed.], adding that he personally doesn't know any LGBT athletes.
"I can say that the best figure-skating in the world is the Soviet school of figure skating. All of our people have been completely traditional — I am personally acquainted with many Olympic champions. In fact I practically grew up in those families," admitted the United Russia delegate.