Speed Read: Tuesday 10 December 2013

1-    BEWARE THE PIN:  The executive board of the International Olympic Committee will reportedly vote today to approve a letter to send to all athletes competing in the winter games in Sochi in February to warn them against engaging in any form of protest of Russia’s anti-gay laws. LGBT activists have been pushing for greater attention to IOC Principle 6, which prohibits “any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise….” But the letter to athletes will, according to Associated Press, focus on Rule 50 of the IOC Charter. Rule 50 states: “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.” Presumably, the letter will make clear whether such acts as wearing a rainbow pin or an equal sign (the logo of the Human Rights Campaign) constitute a “kind of demonstration.” It’s tricky territory. If wearing a rainbow pin is a kind of political demonstration, then it might be argued that wearing a cross is a kind of religious demonstration.

2-   CORPORATIONS ARE NICE PEOPLE: To progressive, left-wing America, anything “corporate” is supposed to be anathema. But the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index gave 304 major business a perfect score of 100. That’s up from two years ago when 180 corporations earned 100. HRC released its survey findings yesterday. According to HRC, “More Fortune 500 companies implemented inclusive workplace non-discrimination policies than ever before — 91 percent provide explicit protections on the basis of sexual orientation and 61 percent on the basis of gender identity, a historic high. Sixty-seven percent offer same-sex partner benefits, another record.”

3-   SELLING CAKE IS NOT ‘SPEECH’: An administrative law judge ruled December 6 that a bakery violated the Colorado law against discrimination based on sexual orientation in public accommodations when its owner refused to sell a cake to a gay couple for use in a wedding reception. The bakery owner claimed that selling the cake to the gay couple constituted “promoting and endorsing” a same-sex ceremony in violation of the owner’s religious belief that marriage is only between one man and one woman. But Judge Robert Spencer of the Colorado Office of Administrative Courts said the baker’s shop is a public accommodation and must obey the state law. “At first blush, it may seem reasonable that a private business should be able to refuse service to anyone it chooses,” wrote Spencer. “This view, however, fails to take into account the cost to society and the hurt caused to persons who are denied service simply because of who they are…. Although [the baker’s attorneys] are correct that Colorado does not recognize same-sex marriage, that fact does not excuse discrimination based upon sexual orientation….The act of preparing a cake is simply not ‘speech’ warranting First Amendment protection.”

4-   BIG GAY WEDDING PITCH: The ACLU, which pressed the lawsuit against the baker in Colorado, is launching an ad campaign today with the theme of “My Big Gay (Il)legal Wedding,” a take-off of the title of the popular film “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” The campaign will give $5,000 to five same-sex couples who can best illustrate “the unfair patchwork of state marriage laws.” The ACLU’s openly gay national executive director, Anthony Romero, told the New York Times, “You’ve got to make people laugh, do a double take. If we can get outside of being considered nerdy litigants or nerdy lobbyists, we can get a lot accomplished.”

One Response to Speed Read: Tuesday 10 December 2013

  1. Francois says:


    Well how about a fist?

    Was this rule in place at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City when, with the support of the revered Dr. Tom Waddell, athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood atop the medal podium and took a stand against racism in the United States by lowering their heads and raising their fists while receiving their medals?

    At a certain point it will cease to be about Putin or Russia but just about the winners’ honor. As the Dante is said to have written (and as President Kennedy and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. loved to quote) “The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.” The quote goes on to say, “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

    We shall see. It is time to hold some feet to the fire. Solidarity!

Leave a Reply