US President Barack Obama was questioned on NBC’s the The Tonight Show by Jay Leno on why Russia’s anti-gay laws have not caused as much global outrage as it should have, comparing what is happening in Russia to the treatment of Jewish people by the Nazis.
“Well, I’ve been very clear that when it comes to universal rights, when it comes to people’s basic freedoms, that whether you are discriminating on the basis of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation, you are violating the basic morality that I think should transcend every country. And I have no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them,” Obama said.
He continued by saying: “But one of the things that I think is very important for me to speak out on is making sure that people are treated fairly and justly, because that’s what we stand for. And I believe that that’s a precept that’s not unique to America, that’s something that should apply everywhere.”
When asked by Leno if the President thought that the anti-gay laws would affect the Winter Olympics, President Obama responded: “I think Putin and Russia have a big stake in making sure the Olympics work, and I think they understand that for most of the countries that participate in the Olympics, we wouldn’t tolerate gays and lesbians being treated differently. They’re athletes, they’re there to compete. And if Russia wants to uphold the Olympic spirit, then every judgment should be made on the track, or in the swimming pool, or on the balance beam, and people’s sexual orientation shouldn’t have anything to do with it.”
This was followed by an approving applause from The Tonight Show audience.
Watch the interview below – the Russia question starts at 3 minutes 06 seconds.