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IOC pressured by All Out, U.S. lawmakers to ban anti-LGBT discrimination

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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The International Olympic Committee on Tuesday came under increased pressure to prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination and ensure future host countries do not have discriminatory laws on their books.

Olympic-flagThe international gay rights group All Out reiterated its call on the IOC to overhaul its selection process, citing the controversy that surrounded the Winter Games in Sochi over Russia’s law prohibiting so-called gay “propaganda.”

All Out says it delivered messages by more than 100,000 members before Tuesday’s deadline for public submissions on “Olympic Agenda 2020,” IOC President Thomas Bach’s project for reforms that will be voted on in December in Monaco.

All Out says more than 74,000 members signed a petition delivered to the IOC and another 41,000 sent their own messages.

The group wants the IOC to require that host countries have no discriminatory laws in place and future host city contracts include human rights pledges. It also urges the IOC to amend a clause in the Olympic Charter to specifically prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.

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In Washington, 19 members of the U.S. Congress sent a letter to Bach calling on the IOC to amend its charter to ban anti-LGBT discrimination.

The lawmakers want Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter to “explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity,” the letter states. Principle 6 currently prohibits discrimination “with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise.”

Among the letter’s signatories are four openly gay congressmen — Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Michael Michaud (D-Maine), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) — and GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.)

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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