All Out Condemns International Olympic Committee's Refusal to Act on Russia's Anti-Gay Laws

Today the IOC said they are convinced discrimination will not take place during the Sochi Games, despite Russia's anti-gay laws. The IOC said they do not comment on local laws as long as the Olympic Charter is not violated. Yet Russia's anti-gay laws do violate the Olympic Charter. Principle 6 reads: "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."

"Clearly the IOC refuses to stay true to their own charter and the ideals of the Olympic Movement. It is a shame and an embarrassment to athletes all over the world," Andre Banks Executive Director and Co-Founder of All Out said. "If the IOC is unwilling to protect the values of the Olympic Movement, then athletes, sponsors, fans and participating governments must speak out and defend the integrity of the Games."

In August, All Out members delivered more than 300,000 signatures to the International Olympic Committee headquarters. Members urged the IOC to speak out against Russia's anti-gay law ahead of the 2014 Winter Games. All Out plans to advance their campaign this week by activating their 1.8 million members around the world to target key sponsors and governments -- the economic engine behind the Olympic Games -- to speak out in support of Principle 6.

"It is shameful the International Olympic Committee refuses to stand by the Olympic Charter and Principle 6." Brian Ellner, prominent LGBT activist and Athlete Ally Board Member said. "Russia's anti-gay laws and human rights crackdown violate the Olympic charter. We will defend Principle 6 since the IOC refuses to."

Criticism of Putin's crackdown on basic human rights for both gay and straight Russians has gone global in the run-up to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia:

  • After criticizing the Russian laws on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno last month, President Obama met with civil society and LGBT groups during his visit to Russia this week for the G20;
  • State Representative Mark Leno is taking steps to force California's billion dollar pension fund to divest from Russian companies;

  • In Australia, elected officials pressured the International Olympic Committee to respond to the human rights crackdown, leading to a letter confirming the IOC does not plan to move the Olympics;
  • A bipartisan group of United States Senators sent an open letter to President Obama encouraging him to pressure Putin during the G20 to stop his crackdown on human rights;

  • In Reykjavik, and in cities throughout the world, city councils are questioning their official sister cities relationships with their Russian counterparts;
  • Activists throughout the world are calling on global corporations who are sponsoring the Olympics to speak out and ensure their corporate policies protect LGBT employees worldwide;
  • In at least 33 cities and 21 countries, people organized events as part of the Global Speak Out.
  • To see the live signature totals from All Out's petition visit: