It appears in a not so subtle way, Google is chiming in regarding Russia’s laws regarding gays in their country. Visit the Google home page and their colorful Sochi Olympics doodle highlights a few sporting events, but further yet it is the same color coordination as the rainbow flag which represents the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. Notably, Google emphasizes their stance with a quote; sporting is meant to be a basic “human right.”
Within the Olympic spirit of pride, country and competition – Google emphasizes an excerpt from the Olympic Charter. Many individuals cheer the symbolic support from one of the largest companies around the globe. There are others who feel Google is intruding into a political realm. Are they? Listed under the “Fundamental Principles of Olympism” the Olympic Charter places forth seven principles.
- Olympism is a collaborative style of education, culture and sport. The aspects of these facets are delved within the joy of being an example of ethics.
- Humankind, peace and above all, human dignity of tolerance embedded within an environment that promotes harmonious interaction.
- The symbol of the Olympics bring together the five continents of their greatest athletes to embody the very values of the listed principles.
- The aspect of sport – is essentially a human right. The chance for any individual to practice within the Olympic spirit without fear of persecution or discrimination.
- Outside influences do not permeate the aspect of good governance.
- Discrimination, wholly, is not deemed compatible within the fabric of life called Olympism.
- Joining this symbolic movement requires the compliance as demanded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
This summary of the principles did not mean Google took a political stance when changing their home page. Instead they merely clarified and demonstrated a support for all individuals. Every single athlete from the numerous countries spark a mission of collaborative goodwill. The Google Sochi Olympics doodle is just one stance of support regarding the principle of the basic “human right” of sport. This should hold no hesitation of extension to the LGBT athletes, residents or visitors.
Anti-gay laws did not suddenly arise in Russia prior to the Sochi event. Instead many of the cities established these laws within the past few years. The anti-propaganda law pushed by President Putin puts many gay, and bi-sexual athletes on red alert. Previous laws had already banned same sex couples from adopting and living openly, without fear of jail time. The law may even extend to visiting foreign nationals.
The laws presented may create a devastation factor for Putin and any progress of economics he is trying to bring to Russia. Hosting one of the most diverse events in Russia seems be an ironic twist of fate for the President. His laws would restrict, even visitors, from wearing pro-gay pins and discussing issues in front of minors. Potentially, the fines could be over $3,000 American dollars and activists can face up to two weeks imprisoned.
Nerves rattled as travelers contemplated staying in their country rather than risk possible imprisonment. The Chairman of the European Affairs which encompasses Russia, Chris Murphy, tried putting some travelers to ease. He stated the Russian government had stated they would relax the laws during the Olympics event. He still cautioned his “gay and lesbian friends” about visiting the country. Murphy stated he was left unsure what “the Russians will do.”
Murphy hoped big sponsors like Coca-Cola and General Electric would bring the pressure down on Russian officials to hold off enforcing the laws. Additionally, the Olympic Charter takes a fierce stance against discrimination, and the IOC may had taken a word with Russian officials to uphold their level of ethics for the games.
Google emblazoned their home page with the Sochi Olympics graphics, but they also added an element of support. Beyond the level of controversial laws is a far more distinct impression – the practice, the work; the blood, sweat and tears see no sexual orientation. It sees no race or ethnicity. It sees the power of athletes, their commitment, heart and work. The practice embodied? A human right to be respected and upheld.