USOC Adds Sexual Orientation to Non-Discrimination Policy

Tasha Kai USOC

Tasha Kai shows off her 2008 gold medal

The US Olympic Committee (USOC) announced Friday that its board voted to add sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policy.

The USOC was under a great deal of pressure from both athletes and lawmakers to protect gay and lesbian athletes ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, where laws are in place that punish what is viewed as pro-gay propaganda. The amended bylaw reads:

The USOC is committed to honesty and integrity as the cornerstone of our activities. In turn, the USOC expects you to conduct yourself in an ethical and legal manner as a representative of the USOC. This requires you to:

 

* Respect the rights of all individuals to fair treatment and equal opportunity, free from discrimination or harassment of any type, including, without limitation discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin or otherwise.

While openly stating opposition to the law, the USOC states that they will not advocate for its changing. They are inquiring with the International Olympic Committee about how IOC rules against political speech affect athletes who have already been vocal about the laws in place in Russia. The IOC does not include sexual orientation or gender identity in its non-discrimination policies.

Gay and lesbian soccer players from Robbie Rogers to Tasha Kai and from Megan Rapinoe to Abby Wambach have represented the United States at the past few Olympic games.

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