Tags: olympics | gay | signal | russia

Signal to Russia: US Olympics Delegation Includes Gay Athletes

Image: Signal to Russia: US Olympics Delegation Includes Gay Athletes Caitlin Cahow

Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013 08:50 PM

By Cynthia Fagen

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
In a move that sends a signal to Russia about its anti-gay laws, the White House announced Tuesday that the presidential delegation to the Winter Olympics in Sochi will include two gay athletes, tennis great Billie Jean King and ice hockey player Caitlin Cahow, The Hill reported.

The legendary tennis champ received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 in recognition of her work on behalf of the LGBT community.

Two-time Olympian Cahow came out as a lesbian earlier this year.

Civil rights groups pressured President Barack Obama to include gay leaders in the delegation as a symbol of its opposition to Russia's laws banning ''gay propaganda," which impose fines and imprisonment for those who stage gay-pride rallies or events.

Last week, Human Rights First sent a letter to Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett that asserted, "the selection of the members of the official U.S. delegations for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics is an important opportunity to signal to Russia and the world the priority the Obama administration places on equality and human dignity."

"We urge you to ensure that the U.S. delegation includes prominent LGBT people – athletes, government officials and others – as well as allies of the LGBT community who will carry a message of tolerance and respect for individual rights and human dignity," the letter, obtained by McClatchy, continued.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will lead the U.S. delegation to the Opening Ceremonies. U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors, and gold-medal figure skater Brian Boitano will also appear.

The Closing Ceremonies delegation will be led by Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, and will include McFaul, speed-skating gold medalists Bonnie Blair and Eric Heiden, and Cahow.

Neither the president nor first lady Michelle Obama will be in either delegation.

Earlier this summer, Obama said he did not "think it's appropriate to boycott the Olympics" — but said he hoped gay U.S. athletes would win medals and in turn change attitudes.

"One of the things I'm really looking forward to is maybe some gay and lesbian athletes bringing home the gold or silver or bronze, which I think would go a long way in rejecting the kind of attitudes that we're seeing there," he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said gay athletes will be welcome at the games.

"We are doing everything, both the organizers and our athletes and fans, so that participants and guests feel comfortable in Sochi, regardless of nationality, race, or sexual orientation," Putin told RIA Novosti.

Related stories:




© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Rep. Alan Nunnelee to Continue Recovery From Surgery at Home

Friday, 29 Aug 2014 14:29 PM

Republican Rep. Alan Nunnelee announced today that his doctors have granted approval to continue his rehabilitation from . . .

Prosecutor: McDonnells Had 'Corrupt Understanding'

Friday, 29 Aug 2014 14:04 PM

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell took bribes and sold his office to promote a sketchy nutritional supplement for a bus . . .

Sen. Harry Reid: Redskins Owner Offered Gifts to Nevada Tribe

Friday, 29 Aug 2014 13:19 PM

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has been arguing that the Washington Redskins' name is racist, claims team owner  . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved