During his recent appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Barack Obama said that Russia and other countries like it are ‘violating basic morality’ by passing laws in opposition to the homosexual lifestyle.
After Obama was asked about his reaction to Russia granting asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden, Leno then delved into the issue of homosexuality and the 2014 Olympics.
“Well, something that shocked me about Russia — and I’m surprised this is not a huge story — suddenly, homosexuality is against the law,” he said. “I mean, this seems like Germany: Let’s round up the Jews, let’s round up the gays, let’s round up the blacks. I mean, it starts with that. You round up people who you don’t — I mean, why is not more of the world outraged at this?”
Leno was referring to a law that passed in June that bans the dissemination of “homosexual propaganda” to minors, including any material that is “directed at forming nontraditional sexual setup” or which could create a “distorted understanding” of human sexuality.
“Well, I’ve been very clear that when it comes to universal rights, when it comes to people’s basic freedoms, that whether you are discriminating on the basis of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation, you are violating the basic morality that I think should transcend every country,” Obama replied. “And I have no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.”
When asked whether he believes the new law will affect the Olympics next year, Obama said he didn’t think it would be an issue.
“I think Putin and Russia have a big stake in making sure the Olympics work,” he said. “And I think they understand that for most of the countries that participate in the Olympics, we wouldn’t tolerate gays and lesbians being treated differently.”
However, as a number of homosexual advocacy groups have called for a boycott of the Olympics due to Russia’s stance on the matter, Obama stated during a press conference on Friday that while he disagrees with the country’s views, he does not support a boycott.
“I want to say very clearly. I do not think it’s appropriate to boycott the Olympics,” he said. “One of the things I’m looking forward to is maybe some gay and lesbian athletes bringing home the gold, or silver, or bronze. … If Russia doesn’t have gay or lesbian athletes, then it will probably make their team weaker.”
While Russia has been making headlines recently for its laws against homosexuality, its position on the issue is not new. Last August, Moscow’s highest court upheld the city’s ban on homosexual pride parades for the next 100 years. The former mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, had stated previously that he believes homosexual pride parades are “satanic.”
According to reports, public polls from 2010 indicated that 38% of Russians believed that homosexuality is a “bad habit” and 36% said it was “a sickness or result of a psychological trauma.” However, 41% stated that they did not believe laws should be passed that “discriminate” against homosexuals.