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  #1    
Old July 28th, 2013, 07:50 AM
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RUSSIA’S president, Vladimir V. Putin, has declared war on homosexuals. So far, the world has mostly been silent.

On July 3, Mr. Putin signed a law banning the adoption of Russian-born children not only to gay couples but also to any couple or single parent living in any country where marriage equality exists in any form.

A few days earlier, just six months before Russia hosts the 2014 Winter Games, Mr. Putin signed a law allowing police officers to arrest tourists and foreign nationals they suspect of being homosexual, lesbian or “pro-gay” and detain them for up to 14 days. Contrary to what the International Olympic Committee says, the law could mean that any Olympic athlete, trainer, reporter, family member or fan who is gay — or suspected of being gay, or just accused of being gay — can go to jail.

Earlier in June, Mr. Putin signed yet another antigay bill, classifying “homosexual propaganda” as pornography. The law is broad and vague, so that any teacher who tells students that homosexuality is not evil, any parents who tell their child that homosexuality is normal, or anyone who makes pro-gay statements deemed accessible to someone underage is now subject to arrest and fines. Even a judge, lawyer or lawmaker cannot publicly argue for tolerance without the threat of punishment.

Finally, it is rumored that Mr. Putin is about to sign an edict that would remove children from their own families if the parents are either gay or lesbian or suspected of being gay or lesbian. The police would have the authority to remove children from adoptive homes as well as from their own biological parents.

Not surprisingly, some gay and lesbian families are already beginning to plan their escapes from Russia.

Why is Mr. Putin so determined to criminalize homosexuality? He has defended his actions by saying that the Russian birthrate is diminishing and that Russian families as a whole are in danger of decline. That may be. But if that is truly his concern, he should be embracing gay and lesbian couples who, in my world, are breeding like proverbial bunnies. These days I rarely meet a gay couple who aren’t raising children.

And if Mr. Putin thinks he is protecting heterosexual marriage by denying us the same unions, he hasn’t kept up with the research. Studies from San Diego State University compared homosexual civil unions and heterosexual marriages in Vermont and found that the same-sex relationships demonstrate higher levels of satisfaction, sexual fulfillment and happiness. (Vermont legalized same-sex marriages in 2009, after the study was completed.)

Mr. Putin also says that his adoption ban was enacted to protect children from pedophiles. Once again the research does not support the homophobic rhetoric. About 90 percent of pedophiles are heterosexual men.

Mr. Putin’s true motives lie elsewhere. Historically this kind of scapegoating is used by politicians to solidify their bases and draw attention away from their failing policies, and no doubt this is what’s happening in Russia. Counting on the natural backlash against the success of marriage equality around the world and recruiting support from conservative religious organizations, Mr. Putin has sallied forth into this battle, figuring that the only opposition he will face will come from the left, his favorite boogeyman.

Mr. Putin’s campaign against lesbian, gay and bisexual people is one of distraction, a strategy of demonizing a minority for political gain taken straight from the Nazi playbook. Can we allow this war against human rights to go unanswered? Although Mr. Putin may think he can control his creation, history proves he cannot: his condemnations are permission to commit violence against gays and lesbians. In May a young gay man was murdered in the city of Volgograd. He was beaten, his body violated with beer bottles, his clothing set on fire, his head crushed with a rock. This is most likely just the beginning.

Nevertheless, the rest of the world remains almost completely ignorant of Mr. Putin’s agenda. His adoption restrictions have received some attention, but it has been largely limited to people involved in international adoptions.

This must change. With Russia about to hold the Winter Games in Sochi, the country is open to pressure. American and world leaders must speak out against Mr. Putin’s attacks and the violence they foster. The Olympic Committee must demand the retraction of these laws under threat of boycott.

In 1936 the world attended the Olympics in Germany. Few participants said a word about Hitler’s campaign against the Jews. Supporters of that decision point proudly to the triumph of Jesse Owens, while I point with dread to the Holocaust and world war. There is a price for tolerating intolerance.
What do you guys think of this?
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Old July 28th, 2013, 08:08 AM
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What do I think of this?

There's honestly not much to say. People are far too inclined to treat people unfairly just because they are different - it is high time that Russia followed the examples of several other countries and gave homosexual people the same rights and freedoms as those of the opposite gender before things get any further out of hand than they are.

All humans are equal regardless of sex, race, religion, sexual-orientation or any other factor.
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Old July 28th, 2013, 08:10 AM
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I want to see scores of Olympic athletes carrying rainbow flags during the parade of nations, in front of the world to see. Let Putin dare arrest them.

But yes, this is a scapegoating of a minority of people to keep himself in power. It's wrong, shameful, inhumane, and completely unjustifiable. Russia's no better than Iran or North Korea.
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Old July 28th, 2013, 08:12 AM
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My question is why homosexuals are becoming the new Jew. And by that, I mean they're being used as a scapegoat in the place of the Jewish people, who were, at one point, blamed for every wrong or disaster that happened in the world. Homosexuals are feeling the brunt of this now and it's a bit puzzling. Is it simply because homosexuality is receiving more attention from the rest of the world? Or is it something else?
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Old July 28th, 2013, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Silais View Post
My question is why homosexuals are becoming the new Jew. And by that, I mean they're being used as a scapegoat in the place of the Jewish people, who were, at one point, blamed for every wrong or disaster that happened in the world. Homosexuals are feeling the brunt of this now and it's a bit puzzling. Is it simply because homosexuality is receiving more attention from the rest of the world? Or is it something else?
Because of preexisting prejudice, I'm sure. Probably they, Putin and his friends, can't target non-whites in large enough numbers since there aren't many in Russia. Targeting ethnic minorities from neighboring countries is too likely to spark something political and those people would have a voice in the form of the neighboring country's leaders. It's the queer people who have no central political voice that's big enough on the world stage that Putin has to fear. I mean, Western countries can raise objections, but I guess the average Russian person doesn't care what Western countries think, and I don't think you'll see many in the former Soviet republics (Ukraine, Kazakhstan, etc.) care about gay people so Russia is extra insulated against critical thinking where it comes to LGBT issues.
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Old July 28th, 2013, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silais View Post
My question is why homosexuals are becoming the new Jew. And by that, I mean they're being used as a scapegoat in the place of the Jewish people, who were, at one point, blamed for every wrong or disaster that happened in the world. Homosexuals are feeling the brunt of this now and it's a bit puzzling. Is it simply because homosexuality is receiving more attention from the rest of the world? Or is it something else?
Ummm... I support gays but, this is taking it a bit far...

The treatment of Jews during WW2 is nowhere near as bad as that of Homosexuals right now.
And on my thoughts of the topic, I guess it's not really our place as not part of that society to know about their culture and what not about their views on homosexuals.

It may sound a bit insensitive on my part but, we don't really know. It's messed up, but its their culture and country.

And Russia is no better than North Korea? Please... don't make me laugh
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Old July 28th, 2013, 09:06 AM
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Chili does have a point there.

The discrimination against homosexuals in modern society doesn't compare even a little to what the Nazi's did to not just Jews but most minority groups. That being said, homosexuals were treated pretty badly throughout history too.

The point remains the same though regardless. It is about time we stopped treating gays as half-people.
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Old July 28th, 2013, 09:46 AM
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I don't know if it's fair to make a comparison between Jews and homosexuals. The Jews were over-represented in the German upper and middle class in the early 20th century so it's easy to give into fear of their power. They also continue to be over-represented in the US congress today. I can't say the same about homosexuals though since they don't really hold many of the levers on power - in fact I would argue their society position is worse to begin with since they don't really have access to power. Now give that we're in the 21st century and with international human rights norms and all it'll probably never get to a holocaust-like stage, so I'm thankful for that. But it's probably just because homosexuals are easy to pick on, and they have a relevant-enough context to be stigmatized (low birth rates)? There are other more interesting factors, like old people being old and retaining Soviet-style, modernist, rationalist, scientific and clinical-type thinking.
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Old July 28th, 2013, 10:31 AM
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Part of it is the resurgencey of rigid Eastern Orthodox traditions, supported by an ever increasingly Autocratic government. So instead of godless commies, you have authoritarian religious fundamentalists. Yikes. That and they're a vulnerable scapegoat.
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Old July 29th, 2013, 12:54 AM
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Well I guess I won't be going to Russia then................ but seriously; I guess this is just Putin's way of keeping religion in and anything different out.
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Old July 29th, 2013, 08:41 AM
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I was making the Jewish-homosexual comparison not to indicate that they were treated as violently as the Jewish were in the WWII era but because of the stigma the name has in society. Back in that time period, the word "Jew" was almost a bad word—in some countries today, the word "gay" or "homosexual" is a trigger word for anger and even some violence. The point I was making is that the way we saw Jews in the Nazi era is becoming the same way much of the world sees homosexuals—as something to fear and hate and suppress.

I hope that makes sense! I wasn't trying to compare how Jews were treated to how homosexuals were treated throughout history in terms of killing and violence. I was using the terminology to make a comparison.
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Old July 29th, 2013, 08:43 AM
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I've heard that in divorce cases in Russia now spouses are accusing each other of being gay to gain custody of children.

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And Russia is no better than North Korea? Please... >_> don't make me laugh
Russia is terribly corrupt. Unless you follow the party line you get arrested. NK might be more insular, might be worse in some areas, but just look at the examples of Pussy Riot or Alexei Navalny and you can see that dissent isn't tolerated in Russia either. When you get below a certain point, a certain standard of human rights, it's kind of meaningless to say "Well, Russia's bad, but it's no North Korea" since Russia is still pretty terrible.
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Old July 29th, 2013, 10:57 AM
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Yeah, he wasn't making a comparison to how the Jewish people were treated during the Holocaust. Historically there was a lot more prejudice for Jewish people before that. The Russian Empire especially. Jewish people were forcefully evicted from Kiev and Moscow, and there were many Jewish people who weren't allowed to vote in local elections. There's a reason that they all emigrated out when they had the chance. They were systematically discriminated, and one can make the comparison between the two groups and I think it would be fair. He also has a fair point that Jewish people were seen as the deviants and the "wrong" in society, but now we've switched the blame onto homosexuals.

That being said, I'm incredibly uncomfortable about the olympics in Russia. I have this feeling it'll turn into another Berlin Olympics, where Putin is going to desperately try to show what a great country Russia is. I just fear for any gay spectators that may be in the audience - it might cause quite the storm.
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Old August 1st, 2013, 03:04 PM
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Oh, Russia. You so crazy.
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Old August 2nd, 2013, 03:53 AM
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I heard a report of gay bars all over the world protesting by dumping Russian vodka and refusing to purchase Russian vodka ever again. I'm not gay myself, but I'm tempted to join them.
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Old August 20th, 2013, 03:36 AM
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Russia is a disgusting country and I wish the whole world would boycott their damn Olympic Games!
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Old September 15th, 2013, 09:13 PM
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The most recent development is that Russia is actually bowing to some of the international pressure on their gay rights stance because they don't want to jeopardize how lucrative the Olympics in 2014 will be for them. There's a very equality-driven PR campaign and everything. What a quick turnaround!
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Old September 16th, 2013, 05:12 PM
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Keep in mind that this is also the country that's also going to host the World Cup in 2018... shameful.
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Old September 16th, 2013, 05:54 PM
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Yes, they are starting to bend their initial posture. Why, because the economical factor involved in both the Winter Olympics and the World Cup is too important to risk being sabotaged or something worse.
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Old September 17th, 2013, 08:12 AM
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Someone once told me on these forums that there was no way that Russia would attempt to once again make being gay a crime. Well, I hate to say it, but it looks like it's happening. Already law enforcement officials in Russia are looking the other way when reports of gay bashings are coming in. Also, we have politicians now working on a bill to take children away from their gay parents. It's only a matter of time.
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Old September 17th, 2013, 10:11 AM
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So they're putting on a good show before the Olympics? Does anyone really think it will last beyond that? I mean, they're going out of their way to say that it's the Olympics where they're not going to arrest anybody, etc., but what of, say, gay people in Russia who want to attend the Olympics?

Putin had that op-ed about Syria where he criticized Obama for the "American exceptionalism" remarks, but it seems like Russia should take a look in the mirror. They're got a big helping of no-one-tells-me-what-to-do attitude. That sounds like they've got their own idea of "Russian exceptionalism" to me.
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Old September 17th, 2013, 12:33 PM
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Putin is criticizing the idea of American exceptionalism as a justification, or to go even further, as a mandate to intervene in the affairs of other countries. The language of sovereignty really is about "no-one-tells-me-what-to-do" and is a factor never to be ignored when considering human rights. They're not being particularly exceptional because all nations protect their sovereignty - of course, nobody ever challenges American sovereignty so there's that.

I don't know if we can call that "making being gay" a crime. First of all it's directed to foreigners and not to their own population. Secondly, there doesn't seem to be a sentence for it, those accused of being gay or "pro-gay" will be detained prior to deportation. The article doesn't make any mention of jail time, which is something I think of when I think about sodomy laws. So yeah, that gay guy (LOL), it's me! Welcome back, Jay! Also, can you link me to the article about "our politicians" (not sure if national, provincial, or municipal)?
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Old September 17th, 2013, 12:44 PM
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Well I can understand this but I slightly agree with it, children should not be told that doing that is okay until later on in life because as Putin said their birthrates are diminishing.
I have a grandfather who comes from a country in europe and he is hte same, strongly against it and I mean strongly so I guess it is just that generations ideals and views from very alike countries.
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Old September 17th, 2013, 01:07 PM
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Well I can understand this but I slightly agree with it, children should not be told that doing that is okay until later on in life because as Putin said their birthrates are diminishing.
I have a grandfather who comes from a country in europe and he is hte same, strongly against it and I mean strongly so I guess it is just that generations ideals and views from very alike countries.
Don't forget there is a difference between having an orientation and being in a sexual relationship. Also let's not forget that as children growing up we are from the moment of our birth bombarded with examples of human sexuality. When a mother and a father kiss, when they hold hands, are two just such examples. Or how about during family get togethers when talk of who is in love with who. We humans are bombarded with sexuality from the very beginning. So why then, do you think, it's alright for one aspect of human sexuality to be "shoved down our throats" but another has to be avoided at all costs? The reason, fear and ignorance of things that are different. Plain and simple, I'm afraid.

And the reason why birthrates are diminishing, not just in Russia but in the world all over, is because people just can't afford to have children. It's no different in North America where birthrates have been steadily declining. Where once people were having large families, no it's not uncommon for a couple to have just one child. And let's not ignore the simple fact that more and more women are opting not to start a family until later on in life when they've established themselves in a stable career. And since those are increasingly rare to find these days, that means more and more couples are simply choosing not to have children.
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Old September 17th, 2013, 01:57 PM
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Making homosexuality a crime doesn't make birth rates go up. The gay people aren't going to suddenly turn straight because it's illegal. Also, keep in mind that these are people's lives being not only ruined but literally destroyed. Homosexuals and allies are being hunted down, tortured, and killed. Russia's official stance on this behavior is that these terrorists are actually public servants. This isn't happening in back alleys or someone's basement or even an abandoned warehouse somewhere. This is happening in the streets during broad daylight.
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