Gay Olympian To Snub The Vice President In South Korea

A gay athlete is not happy about the government’s decision to send Vice President Mike Pence to South Korea as the head of the U.S. delegation for the Winter Olympics.

“You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?” Adam Rippon asked Tuesday night during a USA Today interview. “I’m not buying it.”

The figure skater vowed to refuse to shake the vice president’s hand at a meet-and-greet session when the international competition begins next month. He also does not plan to attend a White House event following the Olympics, according to Newsweek.

“If it were before my event, I would absolutely not go out of my way to meet somebody who I felt has gone out of their way to not only show that they aren’t a friend of a gay person but that they think that they’re sick,” Rippon said. “I wouldn’t go out of my way to meet somebody like that.”

The athlete suggested that he might be willing to speak with Pence after he is done skating.

Rippon accused the vice president of not having a “real concept of reality.”

He explained: “To stand by some of the things that Donald Trump has said and for Mike Pence to say he’s a devout Christian man is completely contradictory. If he’s OK with what’s being said about people and Americans and foreigners and about different countries that are being called ‘shitholes,’ I think he should really go to church.”

The Olympian was referring to the president’s description of African nations as “shithole countries.”

Newsweek noted that the interview was not the first time Rippon has spoken out in support of LGBT rights. He recently told the magazine about his decision to compete as an openly gay man.

“Just being out is important to me, especially in today’s political climate,” he said. “I want to be visible and be a voice for kids."

"You should embrace who you are. That’s what makes you awesome: not just being gay, but all of the qualities that you have.”

Eleven of the nations that will be taking part in the Olympics have laws banning homosexuality. Their gay, lesbian and transgender citizens are at risk of jail terms or execution.

Dozens of other countries sending athletes to South Korea do not sanction same-sex marriages or partnerships. That is not deterring RIppon.

“Yes, there will be countries represented that don’t give rights to their gay citizens,” he said. “But that’s why it’s important that someone like me can go to the Olympics and show people that yes, I’m an out gay athlete, and being gay has nothing to do with who I am as an athlete.”

As the governor of Indiana, Pence signed a “religious freedom” bill that legalized certain forms of discrimination against LGBT people. During his years in the U.S. House of Representatives, he opposed marriage equality and equal rights, according to Time magazine.

In 2006, the congressman called for a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to unions involving a man and a woman. He claimed that “societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.”

Pence also opposed legislation banning discrimination against gays by their employers, and fought against allowing LGBT soldiers in the military. The armed forces should not be “a backdrop for social experimentation,” he told CNN in 2010.

Source: Newsweek, RawStory
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr, YouTube

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