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Kazakhstan drops anti-gay law after sports stars campaign

2015-05-27
Kazakhstan has dropped a controversial anti-gay ahead of its bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, just days after 27 major sports stars penned an open letter to the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) urging him to put pressure on the state to drop the legislation. Originally passed by the Kazakh parliament in February, the law was similar to Russia's anti-gay 'propaganda' law, designed 'protect' children from "information causing damage to their health and development." Retired tennis player Martina Navratilova poses for a portrait after going on HuffPost Live as a guest speaker at the AOL Huffington Post headquarters in New York on Monday Sept. 10, 2012. (Damon Dahlen, AOL) The law has now been quietly dropped after the the Constitutional Council reportedly ruled it was “not in line with the constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan”, Gay Star News reports. Earlier this month (May 19), 27 sports stars - including gay athletes including tennis legend Martina Navratilova, LA Galaxy fottballer Robbie Rogers and former Olympic diver Greg Louganis - wrote to IOC President Thomas Bach, asking him to ensure that the games' principles of nondiscrimination are upheld. Last December, the IOC amended Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter to explicitly bar discrimination on the basis of sex and sexual orientation. The athletes wrote: "In light of Kazakhstan's aspirations to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games and their recent consideration of legislation prohibiting 'propaganda of non-traditional sexual orientation,' we urge the IOC to reiterate to Kazakh authorities that discrimination with regard to sexual orientation is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic movement." They continued: "We were extremely proud to see the leadership of the IOC amend Principle 6 of the Olympic charter to include sexual orientation and believe these changes in principles will strengthen the Olympic movement for generations to come." The Kazakh city of Almaty is currently competing with Oslo (Norway) and Beijing (People’s Republic of China) to be host of the 2022 Winter Olympics. The final decision is due to be made by the IOC on July 31. More stories: How much of a problem is biphobia? Watch: Model maths teacher Pietro Boselli’s Attitude shoot