Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement about Russia’s anti-LGBT laws and their potential impact on the Olympics:

“Russia’s policies to arrest and intimidate LGBT people are appalling.  Recent laws have allowed the Russian government to arrest anyone who is openly gay or anyone who openly supports the equal treatment of LGBT people.  With the 2014 Winter Olympics set to take place in Sochi, Russia in the coming months, I am deeply concerned about the safety and freedom of our athletes and visitors as they attend the games.  If President Putin cannot assure that LGBT athletes and supporters will be free to express themselves without fear of being jailed, then the U.S. needs to consider the implications of participating in the games.  With that said, after speaking with constituents and leaders on this issue, I am confident that we can adequately protect our athletes, and by participating and protesting the oppressive anti-LGBT laws in the spotlight of the Olympics, we can bring greater exposure to the discrimination and persecution of LGBT people in Russia and around the world.  As this issue evolves, I will work with my colleagues to pressure Russia to ensure our athletes and visitors will be protected.”