Olympic skills won’t save us from hatred

The morally farcical spectacle in Sochi

Yiannis Kourtoglou/Demotix/Corbis

Yiannis Kourtoglou/Demotix/Corbis

When I was a small child trying to understand the Holocaust, I asked my grandparents—the children of Jewish immigrants who fled Europe well before the Second World War—whether or not they knew at any point what awaited their kin overseas. “We heard things,” they said. “From time to time, we heard things.” The Sochi Winter Olympics are in full swing and I hear things every day. On Friday, I heard that Anastasia Smirnova, a gay rights activist I interviewed in August, was arrested in St. Petersburg for carrying a banner quoting the International Olympic Committee’s policy against discrimination. I heard that in Moscow, 10 people protesting Russia’s odious “gay propaganda” law were detained by police and allegedly beaten and threatened with sexual abuse. I heard that across the country, gay Russian men are lured off the Internet by neo-Nazi thugs, and tortured on camera. On Sunday, I heard from Kirill Maryin, an openly gay 17-year-old from Novosibirsk, Russia’s third-most populous city, who hopes to flee the country as soon as possible. “My life is getting worse,” he told me. “I see no end in sight.”

Since the Olympic Games began, I have also heard dozens of liberal-minded Canadians argue that, in the absence of the IOC’s vocal opposition to the horrors above, we can take comfort in the stellar athletic showing of our gay athletes. Many people repulsed by Russia’s treatment of its gay citizens are hoping LGBT athletes at Sochi will mirror black American runner Jesse Owens in the 1936 Berlin games, and defeat the team of their would-be oppressor in glorious, triumphant fashion. Athletic victory, in other words, should fill the moral abyss created by politicians, bureaucrats and, yes, athletes too afraid to stir Putin’s pot.

When Dutch bisexual speed skater Ireen Wüst (who has made it very clear that she does not think political statements belong in the Olympics) won the gold medal in her event on Sunday, Olympic spectators deemed the skater’s victory Sochi’s first official LGBT triumph over Russian President Vladimir Putin. Journalists and bloggers mocked the Putin administration’s supposed underestimation of gay people. But the joke, when you think about it, is on no one but us.

Victories won and gestures made by gay athletes during the Games are cathartic and, one hopes, inspiring for gays on the ground in Russia. They may make foreigners feel better about watching an otherwise morally farcical spectacle. But they are in no way evidence of political restitution.

After all, Putin, who is known to sing the praises of gay Russian giants Nijinsky and Tchaikovsky—and who embraced and congratulated Wüst on her gold medal victory this weekend—clearly does not doubt the physical prowess, creativity and intelligence of gay people. He will not, upon witnessing the incredible finesse of gay figure skaters and hockey players, throw up his arms in defeat and declare, “How could I have been so small-minded! Those gays can really skate. Equality for all!” Our skills do not save us—nor do they prove anything in the face of fascism. In fact, they don’t even help us on more familiar, friendlier Western territory.

Consider this scene from the otherwise sympathetic documentary Mitt, which follows the failed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his family through eight years of rigorous campaigning: Near the end of the film, before Romney’s final debate, we see his staunchly socially conservative clan sit down at the kitchen table in their hotel suite, and gather around an iPhone broadcasting a This American Life podcast, in which gay American humour writer David Sedaris reads from his book When You Are Engulfed in Flames. Mitt Romney, at rest in the bosom of his family, laughs out loud as Sedaris describes what it’s like to wear a leg catheter to a baseball game. David Sedaris? Insightful, delightful, hilarious. Not even Mitt, nor, I’d wager, Vladimir Putin, could deny it. Both however, would gladly deny the writer his civil rights.

When the Olympic Games close next week, let’s not forget that Putin equates homosexuality with pedophilia. Let’s not forget that Russian legislators are currently debating a bill, likely to pass, that would remove children from the homes of homosexual parents. Let’s not forget that the country’s nationalist brutes who routinely entrap gays, beat them to a pulp and pour urine over their faces, genuinely believe they are ridding Mother Russia of a predatory pest. In Germany, the Jews were rats, in Rwanda, the Tutsis were cockroaches, and in Russia, the gays are pedophiles, unworthy of basic human rights—even the ones who can skate. Something my grandparents did hear from their ill-fated relations halfway across the world—concert violinists, brilliant mathematicians and champion athletes included? Talent is no match for prejudice.


Olympic skills won’t save us from hatred

  1. Perhaps the west could lead by example, hmmm?

    • Wishful thinking there..Emily …..unlikely to happen.

      • The world has changed enormously since I was a child. Things I thought I’d never see happen are now a commonplace. The majority of people don’t even remember those days. People ‘think’ differently now.

        The world will change because it has to….we can help it along.

    • Only if there’s a buck in it for somebody.

  2. This comment was deleted.

    • Excellant rebuttal Bill.

      • It’s really not excellent. His point ‘ The rights of those members of a religious community to define their community precedes the rights of those outsiders who would seek to re-define that community.” is absolutely true. And yet has NOTHING — not a single thing — to do with civil marriage.

        No gay couple in Canada or the U.S. has ever tried “availing itself of the powers of the state in order to coerce religious communities into the acceptance and endorsement of same sex unions”. Never happened. Not once in over 10 years. It’s a straw man argument.

        As tax paying equal citizens, we want civil marriage equality, with the equal civil rights and protections afforded by that status. And we have it. Done.

        I couldn’t give a fig about anyone’s acceptance or endorsement. But I DEMAND equality under the law. This is what’s being denied under Russia’s growing pogrom against its citizens.

        • Now that, Strepsi, IS an excellent rebuttal.

    • The belief in the right of gay people to marry is exactly the same belief as the belief in straight people to marry; it is the right for a citizen to marry in a consensual act between two adults of legal age. Accepting gay marriage is not privileging gays it’s allowing them to exercise their rights as a citizen. Not accepting gay marriage is discrimination pure and simple.
      As to making churches accept it, I agree nobody has the right to force them to accept it. But then those churches have no right to access public funds either directly or through tax breaks. Those public funds are paid by society as a whole for society’s benefits. If a church wants to discriminate against any part of society for whatever reason then they should not expect to be supported by the taxes of those they discriminate against.

      • Churches don’t get money from the state, nor do they pay taxes, as they are not-for-profit institutions. They don’t get tax “breaks”. The money that is donated to religious institutions is deducted from the income of those who choose to make those donations, and that money in question belongs to the people who earn it and who thus have the right to donate it to whichever cause they see fit so long as that institution does not use those funds for purposes counter to the society as a whole.

        • Behave yourself, you are just making yourself look silly with such an obvious falsehood as that.
          Churches directly receive money from governments for all sorts of reasons – building schools, providing services and the various antics of the offices for religious freedom or what ever they are called. They receive perks like not having to pay municipal taxes and any charitable donations to the churches are subject to tax relief. The wages of clergymen are subject to huge tax breaks and so it goes on.
          If the government contracts you to provide a public service and you agree then your prejudices cannot be allowed to influence who you provide that government service to. If you can’t accept this then don’t agree to provide the service and refuse the public money that comes with this.
          The superstitious want to discriminate because their invisible sky daddy told them to do it and they want their targets to pay for that freedom. I say tough.

          • Excellent points Bill

          • That’s a neat trick…. how you manage to, over the decades, entirely replace the moral authority of the “invisible sky daddy” with the absolute inviolable authority of The State — inserting itself into every element of our lives…. and then conveniently note that “since The State is now involved in all that you do, and “provides” you oh-so-much, therefore you now have to give The State the allegience and obedience that is its due, pretty much however The State determines that you must”.

            Slick, that. And a dynamic that I am certain never occurred to anyone driving the effort for Obamacare forward, oh, no. They simply couldn’t have been that cynical.

          • Steady old boy,
            The state we can do something about. If it is democratic and stays within the boundaries set by the will of the people then elections do that. If it becomes tyrannical then the might of the people sort that out. But if it is divinely ordained and enough of the flock fall into line, how do you fight fanaticism?
            As for Obama… I’m a Canadian the would be tyrant Harper is my concern, you might want to go away and address some US comment thread if Obama is your target.

          • It’s not an Obama thing…. it is about our international elites who have MUCH in common… including a propensity to increase the power and authority of the State that they control, year after year after year after year…. with no end in sight. The only way to reverse that is by some form of radical divergence or pushback, and I have a hard time picturing even what that would look like. Interestingly, the ideology and practice of Marxism might even be a model, given it’s ability to grow from one man’s (admittedly messed-up / criminally immoral) ideology to an international movement.

          • Your offensive characterization of religious belief as “superstitious” and a Deity as a “sky daddy” betrays your own prejudice. Your own arguments therefore lack moral authority.

          • Arguments cannot lack moral anything they are either correct or not; morals have nothing to do with it.

        • Not for profit??? Have you seen the Vatican or St. Paul’s Cathedral in London? When growing up in a small Quebec town our local priest lived in a beautiful home, drove a Cadillac and had a housekeeper. If that’s poverty it sure was different than mine. I once asked Fr. Welsh (or Fr Wealth as he was known locally) why he wouldn’t help a local widow with a old draughty house and a passel of hungry children. He said as they weren’t members of his congregation he wasn’t required to help. His congregation shrank by one more that day.

          • The money still didn’t come from the government. Parishioners provided him with his lifestyle.

        • Churches should pay taxes because they are for profit. They are a business selling religion, a pig in a poke.

    • I fail to see what this post has to do with Emily’s point. Where does she suggest that religions should be forced to accept those that do not accept their beliefs? Where does she suggest that Mitt and Vlad are equivalent in their political goals? How does your point of view support denying human rights to any group, including the right to protection from violence?

      • She suggested that, as either a conservative or a Mormon, Romney would somehow utilize the state to undermine “gay rights.” Unfortunately that is a hollow argument as it directly ignores Romney’s oft expressed belief that the Constitution remains paramount. The erosion of constitutional norms in America is an erosion of all rights, and the advancement of so-called “gay rights” via ex-constitutional means is an elevation of the powers of the state in direct contravention of the Bill of Rights.
        Sorry, but Emma is so dead wrong on this that it’s not funny.

        • “he advancement of so-called “gay rights”
          There is no advancement, they just want the same rights as every other citizen – it’s called equality.

          • They have equality. They always did. All citizens are equal before the law. That means that I, as an agnostic cannot be baptised as a Catholic in exactly the same fashion that a lesbian or a gay couple cannot be married in the Catholic Church. The state is specifically enjoined (in the USA the injunction comes with the Constitutional phrase “Congress shall enact no law…) from ordering it so. In order to become a Catholic, I would have to change profoundly. If the Catholic Church can be forced to accept and endorse same-sex unions, then should it be forced to baptise those who choose to reject the idea of the holiness of Christ? How is it different?
            No one is saying that same-sex couples should not exist. What is being lost here is the gay rights industry is lobbying for the exclusion of choice and debate. That’s a whole lot bigger fish than what they say they want.
            Look, it’s well known that I believe that any New Democrat should be shot with a ball of his or her own excrement. I would have no qualms about discriminating against any individual on the basis of political belief. If I owned my own business, I would put up signs barring anyone who has ever voted NDP complete with the threat of physical harm should they resist being evicted from MY property. The beauty of that is that I have every right to do so, just as the owner of a gay bar has every right to exclude straight people from the establishment. There exists no right of a legislature to deem otherwise in either matter.
            But, what’s happening is that the gay community is not only asking that those who choose to give official recognition to same sex unions be allowed to do so, but that those who for a great multitude of completely valid reasons choose not to grant the same recognition, be specifically coerced by the powers of the state into doing exactly that. On top of that, they specifically want the state to thwart and subvert the rights of the citizens to disagree with and debate the matter. Sorry, but that doesn’t seem very much like freedom and equality to me, now does it?

          • If they cannot marry then they don’t have equality. How hard is this to understand. Every adult citizen who is not homosexual can marry, gays cannot. that is not equality.
            As for the church thing, I said above I’ve no problems with them discriminating as long as they don’t do it using public money and if they are supposed to be providing a public service. Marriage commissioners here are a good example of that, it’s a public service function.

          • Gays can marry in a civil ceremony or a religious one if they find a church who accepts their lifestyle. I cannot marry in churches that do not recognize my religion, but I can marry civilly. So where is the difference?

          • As we were talking about Romney and his being compared to Putin, I think you need to amend that question and apply it to the USA where States get to decide that.
            Can gays get married in every state and are their marriages recognised in every state? Start with mormon Utah.

          • “They have equality. They always did…”

            People identified (by self or others) as members of the LGBT community have the same innate right as anyone else to protection from violence, let alone discrimination in employment or other economic/social spheres. There is ample anecdotal evidence that members of the LGBT community in Russia do not enjoy such rights. There is also much circumstantial evidence that, in Russia, the state is indifferent to such acts of violence against its own citizens. Indeed, Putin’s utterances on the issue suggest he encourages such brutality.

            So enough with the disingenuous, irrelevant intellectualizing about the rights of religious organizations to persecute/exclude whomever they choose, or your right to exclude from your own hallowed premises anyone whose political views you dislike . Those debatable points have nothing whatsoever to do with the undeniable fact that gays in Russia (and too often here) are being bullied and beaten up simply for being who they are.

            Stop trying so hard to miss the point.

          • First, same sex couples have the right to commit to a lifelong, monogamous union. They always have. As well, religious communities have the long established right not to recognize nor endorse said unions. This right is protected by the legal separation of church and state. That right is inviolate, as the left often reminds us when it believes that religion is creeping into public affairs.
            Again, by demanding that the state coerce churches into endorsing homosexual unions, long standing rights of religious liberty are being undermined with malice.
            This also applies to the rights of common discrimination. Free citizens discriminate all the time. We make choices. (Show me a gay rights advocate, and I’ll show you a pro-choice advocate.). We make choices because we’re free. As a free citizen of a free country, I have the God-given right to discriminate against anyone for any reason, even homosexuality. It is the duty of the state to protect that right.
            Now, the state itself expressly does not have that right. That is the precise definition of equality before the law. I can discriminate. The state can’t.
            If I were a lawyer, I could choose not to represent gays, or Jews, or Italians, or Mustang owners. My right, my choice.
            But, we’re I a Crown prosecutor or a public defender, those choices are not available to me. As an agent of the Crown, all are equal before me. All of the Queen’s subjects are equal before her.
            That is the true definition of equality, which we all enjoy. The commenter above proclaims that gays wish to be free from violent victimization. Well, we all enjoy the protection of the law in that regard.
            If any citizen has violence committed against them, the perpetrator is to be punished. We all enjoy that right, including gays. The idea that special treatment of those might commit violence on the basis that another individual is homosexual is a legal absurdity and an affront to the notion of equality before the law. (If a gay man commits violence against another gay man with whom he is not in a relationship, is that a hate crime?)
            Again, we come back to the crux of the argument. How does the erosion of natural and long standing rights that are the very foundation of a free society make our society more free?
            The answer is: It doesn’t.

          • Nice legalistic obfuscation, missing my point entirely, which is that people are being beaten up simply for being who they are and, on the evidence available to any of us, the supreme leader of the Russian state is tacitly (maybe even explicitly) condoning such violence against its own citizenry. That’s all.

            Would you still use all all your blah, blah, blah intellectualizing about your right to discriminate if the victims were Jews, or blacks, or women?

          • No one has a right to commit violence against anyone else, with exception being in the defence of one’s person or property. That’s never been in question. I do, however, object to the application of special jurisprudence in instances where the victim of an act of violence happens to be a member of a specific group. That’s a legal, moral, and intellectual abomination.
            What started this, however, was Teitel’s equivocation of Romney’s Jeffersonian liberalism with Putin’s oligarchical statism. It was a leap of logic of such magnitude that it defies the imagination to believe that was borne of neither malice or just plain stupidity.
            Neither belong in a magazine such as this.

          • Romney’s Jeffersonian liberalism? Oh get off it. Now you’re dignifying Romney’s political posture with a label that’s offensive to Jefferson. Romney’s politics were a splendid example of crass opportunism, in that he drifted far to the right of (in fact, repudiated) his own record as a governor. That was transparently little more than a deliberate and insincere appeal to the Tea Party element of the Republican Party whose support he thought he needed to win the nomination and the presidency. Calling it an echo of Jefferson is ridiculous.

            In that sense it was as heavy-handed as Putin’s attempts to appeal to the the nationalist element among Russians by focusing their discontent on a scapegoated group.

            Your lofty intellectualizing seems to be little more than a rationalization of Putin’s ugly politics, in which he encourages violence by Russians against Russians.

          • Is Mitt Romney a true “Jeffersonian liberal”? Not really. But, he’s closer to that than any Democrat. But, it’s a big stretch to try and make the case that Romney would be heavy handed as head of state. Do you actually think he would have unleashed the IRS as a tool of political oppression, as has Obama, for example?
            On the other hand, few things make me happier than the slow, inexorable collapse of Russia. Putin, as most oligarchs, will come to an ugly end, and somewhere, sometime, Russia will begin to become a civilized, democratic nation complete with religious, economic, and political freedoms.
            The crux of this whole debate is simple: There is no such thing as “gay rights”. When you seek to deprive others of basic natural rights in order to help a supposedly oppressed minority achieve some form of ill-defined “equality”, you only undermine liberty on the whole, which is a collective and far greater loss.

          • I didn’t suggest Romney would be heavy-handed as head of state (in fact, I suspect he would have turned out to be surprisingly moderate). I said his lurch to the right during the campaign was heavy-handed. I’ll go further and say it was inauthentic and contrived. It’s also, like all your pedantic points, entirely irrelevant.

            And who is suggesting that the rights of gays to freedom from violence and discrimination would “deprive others of basic natural rights”, unless those rights include impunity to scapegoat, stigmatize, and violate a particular group? That’s absurd.

            You’re rebutting an argument that nobody is making.

          • But, in Canada or Great Britain or the USA, how are gays specifically not protected from violence? If a homosexual is attacked or robbed, and the perpetrator is caught, does that perp not face punishment in the same fashion that he would if the victim were not homosexual? Show me evidence that, absent “gay rights” laws, those who commit violence against those who happen to be gay would not face society’s punishment. Show me evidence that the courts have been traditionally more lenient to offenders in such instances.
            This idea that free citizens must somehow be prevented from “scapegoating, stigmatizing, and otherwise violating” members of certain groups is a task best left to the evolution of mores instead of resorting to the clumsy and heavy hand of the state.
            As much as I despise the rampant and pernicious anti-Semitism of that darling of the left- radical Islam- we are best served by letting it out into the open where we are free to heap upon it the scorn and ridicule it deserves.
            For those same reasons, I oppose the idea of so-called gay rights. Equality means exactly that. There is no equality in giving a specific “victim’s group” the right to force free citizens to have their own rights subverted and abridged, such as in the right of religious communities to maintain long held religious traditions.

          • This idea that free citizens must somehow be prevented from
            “scapegoating, stigmatizing, and otherwise violating” members of certain groups is a task best left to the evolution of mores instead of resorting to the clumsy and heavy hand of the state.

            So you would acquiesce silently to Russian citizens pummeling those identified as gay, or the citizens of many eastern European countries shunning and persecuting their Roma neighbours, while waiting for their mores to evolve?

            You have more faith in “the evolution of mores” than I do, my friend. Left to the “evolution of their mores”, I suspect many denizens of America’s deep south would still be supporting, if not participating in, lynching.

          • Try to follow along. Teitel very specifically equated conservatism with Putin-style oppression, which was dishonest and intellectually shallow. Neither of which belong in a national magazine such as this. Frankly, I think she owes an apology.
            I don’t condone oppression. Nor do I condone the malicious erosion of liberty in the name of the leftist cause du jour.

          • You are attributing an argument to Teitel she didn’t make. And, even if she did, you (the stalwart arbiter of libertarian rights) would deny her right to make it? Oddly inconsistent and hypocritical.

            By your own apparent standards regarding rights and liberties, a national magazine has the right to include whatever it chooses, including Teitel’s viewpoint, whether you agree with it or not. She certainly doesn’t owe you or anyone else an apology. You, on the other hand, have the right to avoid reading her material.

            Perhaps you should.

          • Civil marriage. Civil. marriage. Religion and the ability of religions to perform some state functions is irrelevant.

          • “I have the God-given right to discriminate….”

            What the Hell is wrong with you?

            I’m imagining you foaming-at-the-mouth right now.

          • Am I not free to make choices? All choices are a form of discrimination. There are no real differences between a Ford pick-up and a Dodge, therefore my choice of one over the other is a form of discrimination. Ditto Pepsi and Coke, ad infinitum.
            If I choose to hire the nice young black kid with the neat clothing and the clean car over the baggy pants, tattooed white kid driving an equally aged but junkier beater for my apprenticeship position, I am discriminating on several fronts that many frown upon and would like to legislate against.
            You can’t have this debate without dragging the pro-choice argument into it. Now, I’m willing to believe that Strepsi may be pro-life, but I wouldn’t bet any major sum on it. On the whole, however, the very same people who are virulently “pro-choice” on the abortion issue, are also very virulently “anti-choice” on a wide range of other issues, to a point where the dichotomy is beyond strange. Has it ever occurred to you just how strange it is that the “pro-choice” political parties in this country were also the most vehement road blocks to the eradication of the Canadian Wheat Board and the attendant expansion of marketing choice for farmers?
            What I’m getting at here is that those who cry loudest at the injustices of supposed discrimination are actually only interested at preventing people from making choices that they see as wrong, or using criteria that they might not.
            They believe in diversity, as long as there is a consistent uniformity to that diversity that conforms to their version of diversity and not some other more random form of diversity.

          • Sheeeesh, verbose much?

            I was actually referring to the “God-given” part of your spew – I was under the impression that Agnostics were fence-sitters who can’t/won’t commit to the idea of God’s existence or lack thereof.

          • Okay, agnostic might not be perfectly correct, but it’s about as reasonably accurate one-word description of my religious beliefs there is. The shoe almost fits, so I’ll wear it.

        • “utilize the state to undermine “gay rights.” = DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act — which, as a state lever to attack an unpopular minority for no rreason of benefit to the state, was found to be unconstitutional. Emma is right, you are wrong.

    • That’s fine if you confine your definition of marriage to the religious sphere. But marriage is also (in many people’s eyes, only) a civil status, recognized in the laws of the state, with attendant rights and obligations.

      Putin, and many/most of the social conservatives whose vote Romney courted, would deny that status to people who are not heterosexual. That’s endorsing discrimination in law.

    • May I sum up, Bill?
      “Ignorance” has a chance of being cured..with education and experience.
      That does not apply with either of these two individuals.(Putin , Romney)

      Very long (and rambling) reply to Emily`s EXCELLENT observation which
      stands by itself.

    • So essentially you’re saying that churches, in the name of freedom, have the right to be racist homophobes and deny freedom to anyone they wish.

    • I don’t disagree with you but you essentially digress from your opening statement.

      “The exceptionalism of America lies in the fairly unique notion, almost absent outside the Anglosphere, that the role of government is to serve the citizenry”.
      The rest of your post hasn’t much to do with this, and while the statement is ideologically true I have to say that “Anglosphere” politicians have long ago departed from the concept of “serving the citizenry” and have created their own “sphere” where all that matters is getting elected and getting re-elected. Serving the citizenry has become farthest from their minds.

    • Garbage, Bill, absolute straw man that has been refuted a thousand times in the ten years since I got legally married.

      “The belief in the right of gays to marry is not essentially wrong headed, but the belief that the homosexual community has a right to enlist government to force churches to accept, condone, and even endorse gay marriage flies directly in the face of the right of religious liberty” — No. It never happened. Not here, not in the U.S., did a gay community demand that religious marriages be performed for gay people. Not once, No one ever asked for it. Never. Never happened Bill. A rabbi or priest or minister can still refuse to marry divorcees or people from different religions or people of the same sex. THE STATE CAN NOT.

      We are talking about civil marriage, civil rights, and civil protections. The civil protections of the religious are absolutely protected. And the civil marriage rights of gay citizens must be absolutely equal to those of straight citizens.

      I also note that you — like other bigots who talk pretty — make “the religious” a monolith, ignoring the Churches that DO marry same sex couples, including United, Unitarian, Episcopalian, and progressive synagogues and mosques all over. In fact, the only attempt at abuse is by some of the religious to force their interpretation of religion on other of “the religious”through legislative bans — which is, unconstitutional and the reason for the second amendment in the first place.

      • I haven’t ignored those religious communities that have chosen to endorse gay marriage. I mentioned a couple of times that there exists complete freedom of religious communities to choose to endorse gay marriage or not.
        At the heart of this debate lies the concept of limiting state power, and the choices governments make, and why.
        Show me a gay rights activist, and I’ll show you someone who wilfully turns a blind eye to Soviet mass murder. You could individually poll every gay rights activist in the Western world, and you’ll find that there are more mating pairs of Bigfoot in Clearwater County than there are gay rights activists who would rank the Soviets as being equally evil to the Nazi’s, let alone more murderous, which they were. There are even fewer who would readily acknowledge the murderous nature inherent in socialism.
        Yet, what do those same people cry out for? Greater state intervention and erosion of liberties. For that reason, I tend to dismiss those activists as just more of Stalin’s “useful idiots”. Their clamor for “freedom” is not for the freedom of liberty in the fashion that we know it, but in freedom for themselves at the very direct expense of the liberties of others.
        That’s why the battle over gay marriage has been fought in the fashion it has, such as using the courts to force small businesses to cater to the desires of homosexual couples in direct contravention of those citizen’s civil liberties.
        It’s also the underlying reason why the activist gay community forced the issue in the Canadian Parliament. You have to be profoundly stupid- not just garden variety stupid but hard core, rock solid stupid- to believe that the most important issue of the day was re-writing marriage law to suit the whims of a few thousand citizens whose basic, natural rights were not being subverted or abridged in any manner whatsoever.
        You cannot make a case by any stretch that the lawful rights of citizens were compromised by a lack of parliamentary legal status for same sex couples. There simply is no evidence to that claim.
        But, what the left won was a huge expansion of the reach of state authority. It was no accident, and the gay community has simply been played for schmucks by people who will throw them under the bus like an old cigar butt when the time comes (ya think there are gay rights in the People’s Republic of Cuba, or Venezuela? Ha!).
        What I’m saying here is that the sooner the gay community grasps that the path to true equality isn’t via the left fork in the road, but via the right fork of conservatism based on the natural rights of economic, religious, and political liberty.
        You’re free to choose more statism, of course, but there isn’t a socialist experiment on the face of the planet, that hasn’t moved inexorably towards the eventual subjugation, enslavement, and murder of those who displease the state. Not one.

        • There is literally nothing true in your post. I am a conservative libertarian who believes simply ensuring an existing civil right extends to all citizens is in no way a massive extension of state power. The “conservatives” who want sweeping new laws, bans, or for goodness sake Constitutional amendments in the U.S. are the ones proposing big government intervention.

          1) “freedom for themselves at the very direct expense of the liberties of others”

          False. No one’s freedom or liberties were infringed by marriage equality.

          2) “using the courts to force small businesses to cater to the desires of homosexual couples in direct contravention of those citizen’s civil liberties.”

          False. Each one of those cases (the baker, the florist) was not about same sex marriage, but PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS LAW, which already existed, and state a business can not refuse service to minorities. Public businesses do not have absolute freedom in any case, never have, and the courts found a business itself can not have a religion. Churches, as we both note, are always, and always have been free to discriminate and still are.

          3) ” whose basic, natural rights were not being subverted or abridged in any manner whatsoever.”

          False. There is no substitiute for “marriage” as a status when it comes to immediately changing the status on something like 1,000 different rights. The status of your spouse as “next of kin” alone gives estate rights, tax rights, hospital visitation and medical decision rights, etc. These were abridged for an unpopular minority for no reason, and gay couples of 20, 30, 40 years were treated legally as room-mate strangers. I am gay, I got married after 10 years ‘cohabiting’ with my now-husband, I saw the difference, you are 100% wrong.

          “the path to true equality isn’t via the left fork in the road, but via the right fork of conservatism based on the natural rights of economic, religious, and political liberty” — you are correct in this, and the butting out of the state in the private lives of its citizens, bu making marriage available to all adult consenting couples, is actually the lass statist, more conservative, more libertarian view. And it’s a done deal, and the sky didn’t fall in 2003, and we have a conservative majority with the 2 most powerful ministers gay men. It’s a done deal Bill. And it is a good thing.

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  3. Over to you em

  4. Irrespective of “race ” color or religious persuasion, the Human animal

    CONTINUALLY displays it`s lack of common sense and intelligence .
    Vicious cunning and cleverness……..nothing more.

  5. Putin doesn’t hate gays. He never has. The law he signed, which was handed to him by the Duma and was not actually instigated by him, has 90% popular support in the country and its signing was another step in a political strategy to draw attention away from Russia’s faltering economy.

    If it wasn’t clear already, he couldn’t give two sh*ts about what the west thinks of him. As long as we buy his oil, gas and minerals, we are his serfs. What he cares about is domestic policy and Russia is a deeply prejudiced, socially conservative country and his social policies are a reflection of that.

    When talking about Russia’s problems, gay-bashing comes waaaay down the list, dwarfed by the massive systemic corruption, lack of proper institutions and the reliance on strongmen in power that the russian people project. All of these things will take time to rectify and us being impatient about it will hurt, not help the cause of homosexuals in russia. And don’t forget, only 60 years ago, gay men were chemically castrated in the UK.

    • Your comparison of England 60 years ago is why it is so interesting: Sochi was Putin’s attempt to show Russia is back, as a 21st Century First-World powerhouse. But it has been revealed to be a mid-20th Century corrupt and brutal kleptocracy.

  6. A brilliant commentary on the real mother Russia.

  7. Bill, why don’t you look at the law just passed in the state of Kansas this week in the name of religion. Just a few are the right of businesses, people, hospitals, the police, hotels restaurants and government to refuse service to gays in the name of their religion.

  8. Whew! Thanks Emma, that was a close call! “Q” and “The Current” don’t broadcast on Saturday so I was momentarily distracted by some truly outstanding athletic performances. I promise not to let those athletes distract me from the real importance of these games again.

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    • Have Cause Will Travel…she can’t help it..next stop, North Korea and Iran.

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        • For the love of God Sully99, WE WERE IN THE HOLOCAUST.

          My people wore pink triangles alongside the Jews’ yellow stars. Lesbians wore black triangles along with the mentally ill, as we were all hoarded onto trains to the dealth camps. The Nazis bragged that they put a MILLION of my people in ovens and burned us! Yes we were starved, yes we were butchered, yes a mob of people just attacked gay people in Nigeria, gays were beaten last week in Uganda, gay teenagers hanged in execution in Iran, 1,500 gay teenagers raped and beaten by Neo-nazis in Russia last year — and the rape and torture posted on social media! — and Matthew Shepard was crucified on a fence in the U.S.

          Shut the hell up.

          • Strepsi;
            First of all; I don’t think ‘shut up’ does you, me or your cause any good in the scheme of things.
            Secondly; and predictably your passion for this issue is way overstated. While any predjudice in this day and age for homosexuality is one too many; a few thousand homosexuals where interned in Nazi Germany 70-80 years ago not a million sent to the ovens as you state unlike the Jews that had 6 million wiped off the face of the earth.
            Lastly; the shock value ( as mentioned by Peter above) in Emma’s article and your desciption is over the top;especially in this day and age where tolerance, acceptance, lawful rights are the norm in at least western society.
            Sochi for the most part is about the Olympic Games and sport amongst people of the world. Let’s try to keep it at that.
            Journalists and others have their own agendas including terrorists that want to make any gathering a political gathering or statement of their cause and should be minimized if possible.
            I believe the ‘Olympic Spirit’ from gay commentators, Jamacian bobsleders, spirited women’s hockey should be the story in Sochi not the excess of private agendas.

          • Matt Shepard was murdered by one of his casual boyfriends over a drug deal, so get over that one. See Stephen Jimenez’s book on that subject.
            The biggest reason that I personally detest gay activism is that-speaking in broad but essentially accurate generalizations- the most stridently activist gay lobbies have aligned themselves with the modern promoters of the most murderous ideology in human history which is socialism.
            Why would you guys be so eager to get back in bed with the same crowd that only recently used to send you guys to the gas chambers and the gulags?

  10. You lost me when you made a one-to-one comparison of Mitt Romney and Putin. They aren’t close. And the political system in the US is such that the issue of gay rights will never land in the lap of the President. Terrible column.

  11. Marriage is a legal fiction developed over time to organize a society. Different societies have different rules. You’re welcome to advocate changing the law. Just drop the conceit of thinking your opposition is motivated by evil.

  12. To have better understanding of the issue it would be helpful if Emma or some of the commentators of the article quote what newly enacted law is all about by referencing the main points. Comparing that law to Holocaust, Rwanda, Etc. by the writer, I my view, is irresponsible journalism designed to shock readers. There is no comparison between the two.

    • To me is not comparable to the Holocaust, but to the Nuremberg laws of the early 30’s that led up to it… which is why Emma’s “we heard things” is apropos.

      It is illegal to “promote” homosexuality in front of minors

      “Promote” means anything from a rainbow flag to covering the firings of gay people sympathetically. Newspapers have been fined for covering the firing of gay teachers and quoting the teachers. “In front of minors” means publicly at all. It is effectively illegal to be gay and out in Russia. It is illlegal even for a straight person to say gay people are equal to straight people.

      P.S. The Neo-Nazi “Occupy Pedophila” movement actually kidnaps, tortures and beats and rapes young gay men. They post the videos to VK.com (the “Russian Facebook”). Despite the Nazis being identifiable and named, NONE has been arrested.

  13. The Issue is far greater than sexual orientation which clearly is no
    business of the state. to be in the bedrooms of its citizens, anymore
    than it is their business to supress freedom of expression including the
    right to criticize individuals or organizations of all stripes. As
    well, in a democracy, a very clear definition,and prohibition of
    defamation or hate must be law, Bur Putin’s Russia will be an oligarchy
    until its people throw it off, It has nothing to do with gays-it’s about
    freedom for every single citizen under th rule of law. Naomi Klein’ s,
    SHOCK DOCTRINE is a critical need read for every person who fancies
    him/her/it self as a champion of democracy for all.

  14. Pingback: Children 404 explores plight of gay kids in Russia – Theecca.com