Olympic Committee Says Russia's Antigay Bill Won't Affect LGBT Olympians

By Jase Peeples

Originally published on Advocate.com June 16 2013 4:00 AM ET

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has officially announced it will welcome open LGBT Olympians when they travel to Russia to compete at the winter games in 2014, reports Gay Star News.

The news comes shortly after the lower house of Russia’s Parliament passed the “non-traditional relationships propaganda” law last week by a 436-0 vote.

Though the measure still needs to be approved by Parliament’s upper house and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin, it is expected to pass easily by the end of the month. Under the  so-called gay propaganda law, any foreigner who is perceived to be promoting homosexuality would face a jail sentence of 15 days and deportation.

However, the IOC hopes to quell the fears that openly gay and lesbian athletes will be targeted at the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics and they have released an official statement addressing the issue.

An IOC spokesman told Gay Star News they were “concerned” about the bill becoming law and they remain committed “to non-discrimination against those taking part in the Olympic Games.”  

“The IOC is an open organization and athletes of all orientations will be welcome at the Games,” said the spokesman.