No Olympics in Anti-Gay Countries, Reads IOC’s Principle 6

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Tuesday Feb 18, 2014

In response to criticism of Russia's anti-gay propaganda law, the International Olympics Committee recently proposed a new rule based on one of the Olympic Charter principles that could prevent any country with homophobic laws from hosting the Olympic Games.

According to Gay Star News, the IOC is proposing a specific anti-discrimination decree modeled on the Charter's Principle 6, which prevents discrimination on any grounds including race, religion, politics or gender.

"Could it be changed? It can be changed," IOC spokesman Mark Adams told reporters.

The decree was forwarded after nearly a hundred protestors were arrested in Sochi for violating that country's draconian anti-gay propaganda legislation, despite the fact that Russian officials had assured the OIC that they would not discriminate against gays.

IOC President Thomas Bach said that he is not opposed to looking further into such a decree, as part of his new Agenda 2020 move.

"We are, as you know, in the middle of Agenda 2020, which is looking at just about everything on how Olympics are run," Adams told reporters. "[Principle 6] is not something that is specifically looked at but if there is a groundswell of opinion it could be."

Human rights activists are set on creating such a "groundswell of opinion," calling on the IOC to make it an enforceable, binding condition for all applicants. A new petition by the international gay rights group All Out has currently garnered more than 40,000 signatures to that end; they hope to gather 100,000 in all.

"If countries with anti-gay laws were banned from hosting the Olympics, it would make governments think twice about attacking gay people. It could help stop anti-gay laws in Ukraine, and in time, help win the battle against anti-gay laws everywhere," reads the petition. "Please sign to ask the Olympic Committee to change the rules so that the Games can’t be held in countries where laws violate international human rights standards."

Even if the IOC adopts the decree, it would not impact upcoming Olympic Games such as Rio De Janeiro, Brazil in 2016, Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018, and Tokyo, Japan in 2020.

"IOC President Thomas Bach must learn the lesson from the anti-gay fiasco in Russia and ensure this never happens again," said All Out Co-founder and Executive Director Andre Banks.

U.S. textile company American Apparel has already launched a line of sportswear supporting the decree.

This article is part of "Sochi-ology," an EDGE special report series chronicalling the social and political events surrounding Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.  Visit the full list of Sochi-ology stories here.

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


  • Wayne M., 2014-02-21 21:24:01

    Good! Under no circumstances should any nation that follows any legalized infringement on the human and civil rights of any group in society be hosting the Olympics. The purpose of the Olympics must be to break down barriers through sport, not build up walls.

  • , 2014-02-22 18:41:11

    I wonder if a rewritten Principle 6 could be applied at the State level of the USA or if any state discrimination would be applied at the national level?

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