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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: August 19, 2013 08:57 AM
From: Senator Daylin Leach
To: All Senate members
Subject: To Russia With Rainbows
In the near future I am going to be introducing a series of 3 resolutions under the rubric of "To Russia with Rainbows". These resolutions are in response to the newly passed legislation in Russia which prohibits "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships" and threatens with imprisonment anyone who even advocates for gay rights or discusses being gay in any context.

I first want to be clear. Russia is generally free to pass any law it wishes to govern its own territory and citizens. However this law is different in that it impacts the upcoming Olympic games currently scheduled to be held in Sochi, Russia, February 7-23, 2014, therefore, it directly threatens the freedom and well-being of American athletes, coaches, staff and fans who travel to Russia for the games.

Despite repeated requests for reassurance, Russian authorities are still unwilling to guarantee that Americans at the Olympics who are gay, show affection to their significant other, or speak up for equality and human rights will not be arrested, prosecuted and potentially even imprisoned.

It is thus imperative that all levels of American civil and political society go on record against this threat to the safety and well-being of Americans, and Pennsylvanians while on Russian soil. Towards that end, I am introducing the following three separate resolutions.

1. The first resolution is a resolution from the Senate of Pennsylvania condemning Russia's failure to provide a guarantee that our athletes and other citizens will be safe from arrest, prosecution or other legal or extra-judicial harassment based on their being gay, speaking out for equality and human rights in any Olympics-related forum, wearing any sign, rainbow, or other item expressing or symbolizing support for gay rights or gay people.

2. The second resolution urges the International Olympic Committee to expressly suspend Rule 50, which prohibits political protests or displays at the Olympic Games, to the extent it would prohibit, restrict, or limit any athlete’s reasonable, non-disruptive expression of support for the basic human rights, equality, or solidarity with gay athletes at the games.

3. The third resolution would encourage our athletes, coaches and Olympic staff, to consider wearing modest expressions of support for their LGBT teammates, such as rainbow pins, jewelry, or T-shirts, to the extent that these expressions would not be otherwise prohibited by the rules of the Olympic games.

Introduced as SR278