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Obama: ‘No patience’ for Russia’s anti-gay laws, poor treatment at Olympics

UPDATE: In rare diplomatic rebuke, Obama cancels Moscow summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin
Tuesday, August 6, 2013

BURBANK, Calif. — President Barack Obama on Tuesday criticized a new Russian law cracking down on gay rights activism, saying he has “no patience for countries that try to treat gays and lesbians and transgendered persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.”

Obama’s remarks during an interview on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” mark the first time the president weighed in on the growing concern over Russia’s anti-gay laws, and their impact on athletes and spectators attending the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Jacquelyn Martin, AP
President Barack Obama, left, talks with Jay Leno during a commercial break during the taping of his appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013.

Russia’s contentious law was signed by President Vladimir Putin in late June, imposing fines on individuals accused of spreading “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” to minors, and imposes penalties for those who express these views online or in the news media. Gay pride rallies also are banned, as are public display of affenction, including holding hands, between persons of the same gender.

Russian lawmakers have said the country will enforce the law when it hosts the 2014 Winter Olympics, but Obama said he believes Putin and Russia have “a big stake in making sure the Olympics work.”

“I think they understand that for most of the countries that participate in the Olympics, we wouldn’t tolerate gays and lesbians being treated differently,” he said.

Watch:

In a wide-ranging interview broadcast Tuesday night, Obama also said he was “disappointed” that Russia granted temporary asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, defying Obama administration demands that the former government contractor be sent back to the U.S. to face espionage charges.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

Update, August 7, 2013:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — In a rare diplomatic rebuke, President Barack Obama on Wednesday canceled his Moscow summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The decision reflected both U.S. anger over Russia’s harboring of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and growing frustration within the Obama administration over what it sees as Moscow’s stubbornness on other key issues, including missile defense and human rights.

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74 more reader comments:

  1. Good, take a stand.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 3:50am
  2. Just eat it up…Lol

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 3:53am
  3. Agreed

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 3:53am
  4. Go Obama!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 3:53am
  5. Thank you President Obama

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 3:54am
  6. So he´s got no patience for America either, right??

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 3:57am
  7. And the American people have no patience for an overly watchful government.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 3:59am
  8. Obama needs to look at his own military boys then because this is one of Americas finest supporting Putin Dillon Randy Hillier Like when he rolled Grozny, fuck yea showed the muslim criminals who´s boss. Putin doesnt take shit from anyone.
    Like · 2 · 6 minutes ago

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 3:59am
  9. So I can´t hold my mother´s hand in Russia.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 4:07am
  10. How about no patience for anti lgbt in the USA first??

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 4:10am
  11. I really don´t think he said enough

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 4:11am
  12. Thank you, Mr. President.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 4:12am
  13. I appreciate him so much. He had done more for the Gay People than any President in the White House. He said he would and he did.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 4:13am
  14. but hes fine with all the other blood on his hands. this man is using the gay community for votes and support. he hasnt done a single thing. weve fought for it ourselves one state at a time.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 4:18am
  15. Perhaps not but what will he do about it. What can he do? I think the IOC are the ones with the power here and I don´t even know how that works. I know I haven´t heard anything from them.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 4:38am
  16. Shane, did George W Bush sign the Matthew Shepard Bill into law? Or, fight for civil unions in Illinois for LGBTQ American´s living in that state (as a senator), approve and sign the end to DADT, the man who appointed the 5th Supreme Court Judge (Sotomayor) to rule for an end to DOMA and to give Prop 8 back to California´s Judges? Who has spoken 5 years straight at both the HRC Convention and several times at GLADD and other gay rights events? Did McCain… Romney…? NO! Obama has done more for LGBTQ rights than he has had to, he would have won without us but, has stood by us for 5 years in office and even before as a senator! He is a LGBTQ Hero.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 4:38am
  17. THANK YOU Shane DeLay. Obama is saying, in politicianese, of course, that the Totalitarian anti gay law is something we must tolerate as long as it doesnt touch americans. I strongly disagree with this blithering idiot. Obama hasnt done a damn thing for the gay community. We The People dumped DOMA, We The People Dumped Prop 8, and We The People are gonna make sure that these bigoted Russian Dicks arent going to get away with totalitarian, homophobic bullshit. Dump your stoli, boycott Proctor and Gamble, and Send a Dildo to putin´s Doorstep. Fuck the Pig State.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 4:40am
  18. james, i didnt mention bush. i hate him too

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 4:44am
  19. im not republican if thats where your getting at. i just dont let media bias do my thinking for me

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 4:44am
  20. WARP SPEED NBC MOVE THE WINTER GAMES ..OR LOOK OUT FOR THE GAY KILNGONS Takei urges NBC and the corporate sponsors of the Olympics to be pay close attention and get behind moving the games while there is still time to do so.´Trust me, if you are a corporate brand, you do not want to be associated with the Sochi Olympics´

    ´If the Winter Olympics proceed in Sochi, Russia, all of the goodwill they have spent millions to build will evaporate in noisy protests, boycotts, and terrible publicity,´ he writes. ´I personally will be beating this particular drum loudly, as will many other LGBT actors, activists and allies. Trust me, if you are a corporate brand, you do not want to be associated with the Sochi Olympics.´
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Boycott-and-Gay-Pride-Russia-2014/276315755844200

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 4:44am
  21. just because i dont like obama, doesnt mean i adore bush. just because i dont like bush, doesnt mean i adore obama. its a simple concept

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 5:01am
  22. so WHAT are you gonna DO, Obama?

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 5:06am
  23. nothing. but appease the people with some soothing words?

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 5:06am
  24. It´s about time he says SOMETHING. I love you Mr. President, but if you are against Russia and other countries discriminating against LGBTQ people then actually do something about it. Saying you are against homophobia isn´t enough.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 5:18am
  25. fuck you ! you need a transcript ! then step back and go to bed you don´t have a clue what your saying a hit man from main stream take the shit out of your ears……..little brain go away!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 5:18am
  26. putin,is just another serial killer who wants everyone to stare at him and shiver

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 5:20am
  27. I´ve just realised. Mothers and daughters could go to prison if they hold hands in public, so could siblings and fathers and sons.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 5:27am
  28. Putin is a dirty fucker!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 5:31am
  29. Amazing!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 6:03am
  30. OK, let´s continue to aid the Palestinians, who are if possible, worse to their LGBT people than Russia.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 6:12am
  31. He´s a figurehead, his power is largely illusion/persuasion. Speaking is all that he can really do; rail at the cabinet, the senate and the corporations and endorsers who own them that this wasn´t enough. But I remember when no president would be caught dead taking an active defense for the community with a pledge of personal loyalty. From the figurehead, thats powerful now we need to support it, ask for more and back those who are working for change ie our community in all of these countries and our own. Not yelling at a figurehead, we need to more than bicker with each other. We need to get loud at them!!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 6:46am
  32. Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 6:57am
  33. Too bad he didn´t have patience for big corp bullies and didn´t sign the protect Monsanto act.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 10:52am
  34. There´d be a reason I won´t be watching the olympics for the first time in my life.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 12:27pm
  35. The only reason he´s talking openly against Putin is because he allowed Snowden temporary asylum from the American police state. This President and all of his ideological supporters in this country are complete hypocrites. Obama is Bush x10.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 1:15pm
  36. I don´t agree with Russia´s law surrounding gays, but it seems like a lot of these claims against Russia are not being used to further gay rights, but instead be used as a platform by the west to hate on Russia. In Saudi Arabia, homosexuality can be punishable by execution, yet you don´t here Obama and all these other groups calling to boycott Saudi Arabia. But I guess that´s because the USA gets a substanital amount of oil from them.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 2:14pm
  37. boycott the olympics in russia, and get us out of the middle east, solve both problems.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 2:18pm
  38. SERIOUSLY?! LET´S NOT PISS OFF RUSSIA.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 2:18pm
  39. Yea but it was over the Snowden thing, not because of human rights violations.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 2:21pm
  40. And some people still say that Barack has done nothing for the LGBT community. How more clear does he need to be?

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 2:21pm
  41. I love Obama for this. <3

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 2:26pm
  42. Except it wasn´t for the LGBT community, it was for Snowden. Wake up people.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 2:33pm
  43. Why can´t it be for both reasons

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 2:45pm
  44. GOOD!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 2:51pm
  45. It is for both reasons people . . . get a clue !!!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 2:54pm
  46. I don´t think he canceled the meeting because of Russia´s anti gay laws, rather it is due to Snowden being given asylum because he exposed all the dirty secrets of our government

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 2:56pm
  47. It may have been both because of the traitor Snowden and because of the anti-LGBT law.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 2:57pm
  48. Both: “The decision reflected both U.S. anger over Russia’s harboring of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and growing frustration within the Obama administration over what it sees as Moscow’s stubbornness on other key issues, including missile defense and human rights.”

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 2:59pm
  49. Thank you @randy peterson for making this all clear.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 3:01pm
  50. About time president Obama said something,pity David Cameron hasn´t got the balls to speak out against Russia,just shows what a true world leader president Obama is

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 3:04pm
  51. He has no patience for Russia´s anti gays laws, but he does have patience for Saudi Arabia´s capital punishment of gays.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 3:07pm
  52. im pretty sure its both

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 3:09pm
  53. stop being so effin negative

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 3:10pm
  54. Putin is Today´s Nazi Hitler!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 3:10pm
  55. If it is both then O can get behind the move to relocate the Olympics.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 3:27pm
  56. His main reason for canceling was due to Snowden. The human rights issue seems to be just there as a side bar.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 3:42pm
  57. BOYCOTT the Olympics!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 3:45pm
  58. peter-the thing is we are not world police. The issue with the human rights has to deal with how it will effect out lgbt olympians.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 3:48pm
  59. The United States is the world police, it has been since George W.Bush or even farther back regardless of whether it´s right or wrong. This has much more to it than the Olympics.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 3:51pm
  60. I am glad Obama is taking a stand. The US is not perfect. In fact, we´re far from it. We have our share of problems. We give birth to more than our fair share of bigoted assholes, but at least (as far I know) our leaders don´t look the other way when someone is assaulted just for being who they are.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 3:56pm
  61. I was proud to listen to him stand up for the rights of the LGBT community. People can say what they want but he has helped further the rights of the LGBT community a lot. All the negatives that are stated about him are ridiculous. He is the most down to earth President I have seen in office. And I am glad he is trying to handle the Snowden asylum as well.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 4:01pm
  62. They look the other way plenty of times Nova. Nobody ever did anything about the racial profiling of Muslims for example. It isn´t about being perfect, it´s about not repeating the same mistakes over and over again. The USA hasn´t learned its lesson.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 4:08pm
  63. way to go President Obama

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 4:09pm
  64. peter- where does it state we are the worlds police. other countries have governments for a reason! Yes Bush led us into a war FULL of lies.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 4:10pm
  65. Peter, things get sticky when it comes to religion.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 4:15pm
  66. There is no “document” that states this, but it´s aggressive interventionlist policy would make the “world police” an accurate label. Obama continues the George W.Bush foreign policy, just on a slightly smaller scale.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 4:16pm
  67. That doesn´t justify it Loraine.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 4:17pm
  68. I think what Leno said was more important than what Obama said. Are we on the verge of another Nazi-like attack on our GLBT brothers and sisters? How far will this go? Who will ultimately stand up to Russia with their mega-ton nuclear warheads aimed at the world. By not standing up to Russia, other areas, like those in Africa, will continue their assault on their GLBT citizens. We´re teetering on a global human rights catastrophe.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 4:49pm
  69. Terry, you make it seem like Russia is the aggressor against the world, when it´s in fact the United States who is the biggest aggressor right now and threat to world peace.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 4:59pm
  70. The most down to earth president ever? NDAA (Indefinite detention of U.S. Citizens without council or due process. Forms the “kill list”-hidden from sight and now has the ability to assassinate U.S. Citizens without due process. NSA surveillance of ALL calls and internet data without warrant. Unprecedented use of drones against foreign nationals and U.S. Citizens-without due process. Brings Drones to U.S. soil. Approves the Keystone Pipeline-after stating he would deny it. Ya, he´s pretty down to earth.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 5:04pm
  71. It´s probably a number of things. We haven´t exactly gotten along with Russia since…ever. We didn´t even like each other during World War II.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 5:46pm
  72. Bamarama doesn´t give a shit about queers. This is all about Snowden.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 6:00pm
  73. Worth saying though, a sensible person does not read about a persons actions and dismiss them by bringing up something entirely different. I have personal vendettas steeped in things done to me personally, with people who have done horrible things, and even I can admit when they do something right.

    What right does anyone here have to insist someone is 100% awful and their good actions mean nothing because of other bad things they have done, or supposedly done, or might do. This is why politics are so messed up. All the PEOPLE care about is the negative. It´s why the media is so negative. All you people focus on is the BAD things people do. And should they do something positive, or apologize, or anything good, you don´t care. At the worst you dismiss it entirely and insist it doesn´t matter.

    When you judge people by what they do RIGHT, and are constructive, you win a lot more battles.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 6:01pm
  74. I respect everyones point of views and at the same time,i wish to point out that everyone has emotions and strong feelings attached to this subject.some fight with a clear head and some cant when it comes to something so strong.it doesnt make either wrong but both sides fight with their *own* strong will.dont dismiss ones fight,while trying to smoother with your own.ITS ALL the same fight but on different sides.Now isnt the time to tell anyone their view or fight is wrong,but a time to fight together on all sides.while one fights for equal rights,another can freely fight for other reasons but still be a supporter.In the eyes of the LGBT community,he is what he is and that will never change until justice is served and on the other side,there are govt. issues arising as well and that brings concerns *and for good reason* but dont dismiss either.do you not agree? support is the biggest strength we have *in all things* so my point of view is,i see it as a good step for the LGBT community from Obama´s side but i also see it as a good stand against govt. crooks *ill put it* so it is killing two birds with one stone,yes?

    Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 8:07pm