Obama personally boycotting the Olympics in Russia but sends a delegation of gay athletes
WASHINGTON, D.C., December 19, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and their wives will not attend the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia. But Obama is sending a U.S. delegation composed of three open homosexual athletes.
“The president’s schedule doesn’t allow him to travel to Sochi,” White House spokesman Shin Inouye said. German President Joachim Gauck, French President François Hollande, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper have also declined to attend the ceremonies.
Instead, the U.S. delegation will be led by former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
Long-retired tennis player Billie Jean King will attend the opening ceremonies on February 7, and hockey player Caitlin Cahow will attend the closing ceremonies on February 23.
Observers say the selective snub and invitations are a symbolic move aimed at tweaking the host nation over a recently passed law banning homosexual propaganda.
The law fines Russians who advocate gay “marriage” the equivalent of $156 (U.S.). The wildly popular measure does not criminalize homosexual relations but bars any public communications “intended to form in a minor a nontraditional sexual foundation.”
In August, President Obama told Tonight Show host Jay Leno the law violates “basic morality.” He added that he was "disappointed" that Russia granted temporary asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
It is unusual for an Olympics ceremony not to be attended by the president, vice president, or one of their wives. In 2012, Michelle Obama attended the Olympics. Joe Biden attended the 2010 Olympics. President George W. Bush represented the United States at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Homosexual activists had pushed for a boycott of the Sochi games, something rarely engaged in. The United States participated even in the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany. Obama rebuffed the notion of not participating, leading activists to instead pursue forms of protest against the nation of Russia.
Patrick Burke, the co-founder of the You Can Play Project, told the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA)'s 2013 convention in August that his group had been discussing “utilizing diplomatic channels” to smuggle gay propaganda into Russia in contravention of the law. The media did not report the revelation.
Rather than backpedal against the legislation he signed, Vladimir Putin defended the law in a state of the nation address to both chambers of parliament this month. In addition to saying the law was necessary to protect families, Putin blasted the West's “genderless and fruitless so-called tolerance.” His words led columnist Pat Buchanan to ask, “Is Putin one of us” – a fellow social conservative.