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Olympics: Any country with anti-gay laws could now be banned from hosting

Olympics: Any country with anti-gay laws could now be banned from hosting

The Olympics has taken a huge step forward in protecting gay rights.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved Proposal 14 of the Olympic Agenda 2020 to include non-discrimination with regard to sexual orientation in Principle 6 at a vote in Monaco today (8 December).

Principle 6 originally read: ‘Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.’

With sexual orientation included, it implies that countries with laws that actively discriminate against gay people will not be able to apply to host. It must be noted the IOC remains unclear whether this decision will affect any future bids.

It comes after several people were arrested during the Sochi Olympics earlier this year, held in the shadow of Russia’s ‘gay propaganda’ laws.

‘Today is a great step forward for the Olympics, and particularly for the athletes, spectators, and residents of host countries who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual,’ said Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord.

‘Our hope is that potential host countries, like Kazakhstan and China, will understand that protecting the rights of sexual minorities is no longer something they can dodge.

‘We call on the IOC to continue its efforts to support equality by including gender identity in Principle 6 as well.’

‘It sends a clear message to future host cities that human rights violations, including those against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, will not be tolerated,’ said Andre Banks, co-founder and executive director of All Out.

‘These new rules must prevent a replay of Sochi.’

The 2016 Summer Olympics will be held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, and in Tokyo, Japan in 2020. The 2018 Winter Olympics will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The next host city to be decided will be the 2022 Games, with Almaty, Kazakhstan and Beijing, China as the only two candidates.

After holding the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia where there are anti-gay laws, the International Olympic Committee has added a non-discrimination clause to its contract with any future host city.

The three 2022 candidate cities are Oslo, Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan.

The IOC came under widespread criticism for allowing the most recent Olympics to be held in Sochi after a series of anti-gay laws were passed in Russia including one that made it illegal to show any kind of public support for homosexuality.

As part of the contract, a host city would be required to follow a part of the official Olympic Charter which states: ‘Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.’

Among those pushing for such a clause was the human rights organization All Out which called the development on Wednesday (24 September) ‘a significant step.’

‘(It) sends a clear message to future host cities that human rights violations, including those against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, will not be tolerated,’ said Andre Banks, co-founder and executive director of All Out.

‘This is a particularly important moment for the world’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens who face discrimination and persecution not only in Russia but in countries all over the world.’

Branks added that his group will continue working to make sure this change is enforced.

‘These new rules must prevent a replay of Sochi,’ he said.

Hudson Taylor, Executive Director of Athlete Ally said in a statement: ‘By adopting a non-discrimination clause into its host city contracts, the IOC is showcasing its own realization that we must protect the rights of every athlete to live free and openly.’

– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/wanting-avoid-repeat-sochi-olympics-ioc-adds-clause-against-discrimination240914#sthash.noXGzQiZ.dpuf