President Barack Obama sent Russia a clear message about its treatment of gays and lesbians with who he is – and isn’ – sending to represent the United States at the Olympics.
Billie Jean King will be one of two openly gay athletes in the U.S. delegation for the opening and closing ceremonies, Obama announced Tuesday. For the first time since 2000, however, the U.S. will not send a president, former president, first lady or vice president to the Games.
Russia has come under fierce criticism for passing national laws banning “gay propaganda.” Though the White House did not specifically address the Russian laws in making its announcement, spokesman Shin Inouye said the delegation “represents the diversity that is the United States” and that Obama “knows they will showcase to the world the best of America – diversity, determination and teamwork...”
Also skipping the Sochi Games are the presidents of France and Germany. Even though the Obama administration has not specifically cited Russia's human rights violations, his French and German counterparts have been quite clear.