US Lawmaker Calls for Olympic Gay Rainbow Flag Parade to ‘Embarrass’ Putin

By on August 13, 2013

A week after senior US lawmaker Sen. Chuck Schumer called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “schoolyard bully,” on Monday he urged athletes marching in the opening ceremonies at the Winter Olympics in Sochi next year to wave the rainbow flag to show support for gay rights and embarrass the Russian leader.

“When we march initially, all the countries should wave the multicolored flag for gay rights. That would be pretty embarrassing for Putin, let our athletes participate and still take a stand,” Schumer said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program.

Putin signed legislation in June that bans the promotion of homosexuality to minors. Russia’s Interior Ministry, which controls the police force, confirmed Monday that the controversial anti-gay law will be enforced during the Sochi Olympics, which are due to be held from February 7-23.

Appearing on MSNBC, Schumer dismissed calls to boycott the Sochi Games, saying “all these athletes train for so long.” But he did say, “Standing up to Putin right now is important because he’s a bully.”

The senior senator from New York also explained why he thinks US-Russia relations have soured so much since Putin returned to power last year.

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