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Margaret
05-08-2011, 10:13 AM
Canada's chef de mission for the 2012 Summer Games is Mark Tewksbury, who is also an Olympic medalist, and who has also been involved in sport administration and in the Olympic administration.He also has a very admirable record of activism on behalf of athletes, and of promotion of their interests and concerns. He's also openly gay and is an activist on gay issues.

If I might play devil's advocate here, should he also be asked to step down because he might discriminate against athletes who don't share his views?

If he is actively campaigning against straight marriage then - yes. Being a gay rights' activist doesn't mean that you want to deny the same rights to the other members of the society. It's not like one group's civil rights come from the expense of others.

I don't think it is so much about personal preferences or beliefs, but rather campaigning against something in public.

Proustable
05-08-2011, 02:39 PM
Seriously. overedge, I know you're playing Devil's advocate, but it's exactly that kind of ridiculous argument that peopple give (undeserving) real weight too. If I'm campaigning against people's rights, than it doesn't matter what those rights are, I shouldn't be held up as a model for others to emulate.

mike1970, can you explain to me how you feel gay-rights activists are acting in a fascist manner here?

barbk
05-08-2011, 03:34 PM
I wonder how folks would feel if another chef de mission is "unselected" because he/she is pro-choice? I suspect that the pro-life contingent feels pretty strongly about that as a disqualifying attribute.

If you're campaigning against Palestinian rights for a separate government, does that make you "off limits" too? How about if you are of Turkish-American ancestry and don't believe in the Armenian genocide? If it is 1912 and you have campaigned against women getting the right to vote? If it is 2011 and you've campaigned against legalizing marijuana? I'm sure that there are many dope smokers who see that as a pretty serious infringement on their rights.

Personally, I draw a significant distinction between candidates for public office, whose every position is legitimate to consider when voting, and appointees to this kind of post, where the person's general background, behavior, and skills ought be the consideration, and not their specific political views unless those are substantially outside the mainstream. Gay marriage is something that little more than half the adult American population supports even mildly, and someone who has worked to oppose it is not in any way outside the mainstream -- and I say that as a supporter of gay rights and gay marriage.

If gay marriage advocates insist on tarring everyone who opposes their cause as evil and to be drummed out of any public role in society, they are much more likely to harden hearts against them than to find new converts.

Part of growing up includes recognition that not everyone who disagrees with you on some issue of importance to you is evil and must be banned from any public role or punished for their views. I hope Johnny grows up one day, though that may be a lost cause.

Proustable
05-08-2011, 04:23 PM
I have no problems being intolerant of intolerance. I have never understood why people assume I should tolerate hate in any form.

judiz
05-08-2011, 05:33 PM
I don't understand why this is being made into a Johnny vs Peter issue. Yes Johnny was quoted in Phil Hersh's article but I'm sure there are others who feel the same way. Just because Johnny (so far) is the only athlete willing to voice his opposition, don't make it into a "Johnny has to grow up" issue.

Besides, I really doubt that Peter Vidmar resigned just because Johnny Weir was quoted in Phil Hersh's column. There must had been others who put pressure on Peter to resign, they just aren't brave enough to come forward and don't forget, Hersh must had gone to Johnny asking for a comment, not the other way around.

How could anyone expect Peter to stand up for all the Olympic athletes if he can't stand the pressure of one Phil Hersh article?

sjs5572
05-08-2011, 06:13 PM
Replace the term "gay marriage" with "miscegenation," and noone would publicly defend Vidmar. BTW, the same arguments that were used against miscegenation in the 1960s are now being used against gay marriage: It violates the teachings of the Bible; it's unnatural; it's bad for children. When a "point of view" nullifies the rights of a segment of society, it's not a valid point of view....it's just bigotry.

This is not just the matter of a paper document. There are ramifications with regards to taxes, health insurance, hospital visitation rights and immigration.

I'll give you a personal example. I worked for a city government that provided health insurance to my domestic partner. Great, right?
Well, my domestic partner was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma in 1995 and died in 2001. His health benefits of several hundred thousand dollars were taxable to me....all because we could not enter into a federally recognized gay marriage. I paid over $50,000 in taxes on money that went directly to doctors.

Here's another example. My personal physician met a nurse while on vacation in Peru. The nurse obtained a work visa and got a job as an assistant in a doctor's office in New York. The couple proceeded to register as New York City domestic partners. Well, the Peruvian's work visa wasn't renewed, and he was deported back to Peru. This couple was together over 10 years, and they couldn't stay together because federally recogized gay marriage was not an option.

To recap, this is not an abstract issue. It has real consequences for real people.

MacMadame
05-08-2011, 06:44 PM
the push to get him to step down was, imo, ill-considered, and likely to make those opposed to gay marriage feel even more strongly that the "gay lobby" has too much power.
They are going to feel that no matter what. It's not a logical thing and, as long as people believe that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being gay (because there isn't), a certain segment of the population will be incensed.

They remind me of the people I grew up with who were convinced that Jews ran the world and had too much power any time a Jew had any power whatsoever. No Jew having any power at all was acceptable to them. You can't appease people like that and, frankly, I don't think you should try.


mike1970, can you explain to me how you feel gay-rights activists are acting in a fascist manner here?
They were willing to stand up for what they believe and other people were influenced by that. Apparently, that's okay when the influencing goes your way, but fascism otherwise. ;)



Besides, I really doubt that Peter Vidmar resigned just because Johnny Weir was quoted in Phil Hersh's column.
Or even just because of the column. People here seem to live in a figure skating bubble. Do you really think that no one else was outraged over this appointment and said so?


How could anyone expect Peter to stand up for all the Olympic athletes if he can't stand the pressure of one Phil Hersh article?
Well, there's that. :lol: But again, I think people are giving Hersh (and Johnny) too much power here.

As for the example of people pressuring someone who is Pro-Choice to resign, it misses the point. Someone who is pro-choice is not campaigning to force women to have abortions, but to support this legally valid choice and make sure it remains an available option. Someone who is Anti-Choice is campaigning to restrict women from exercising a legally valid option. That would be the equivalent to Peter Vidmar's position.

Most people aren't outraged because Vidmar believes something that they don't believe. They may not like that but people who don't believe what I believe are in positions of power everywhere and I'm not automatically outraged and neither are most people. People are outraged because he is actively campaigning to restrict a segment of the population from a basic human right -- to have their relationship recognized in the same legally binding way as everyone else.

As an example, if Vidmar's position was that he personally thinks marriage is between a man and a woman, but if other types of marriage became legal he would accept it, I wouldn't be outraged. I might be a bit :rolleyes: at the idea that there is some inherent definition of marriage (rather than it being a cultural construct), but I'd figure he was entitled to his opinion.

But that's not the case here and I'm glad he's resigned.

Coco
05-08-2011, 07:07 PM
In addition to all the great points MacMadame, sjs5572 and others have made, Peter Vidmar's activities arguably violate the Olympic Charter.

http://www.olympic.org/Documents/Olympic%20Charter/Charter_en_2010.pdf

From the Olympic Charter:


4. The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play. The organisation, administration and management of sport must be controlled by independent sports organisations.

5. Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.

There are probably plenty of positions he can legitimately hold while simultaneously working to deny gays the same rights that straights have, but Chef de Mission is not one of them.

mike1709
05-08-2011, 07:21 PM
This is in reply to Proustable who basically asked me to explain the meaning of my wording 'fascist manner'.
George Orwell offers a quite straightforward viewpoint - 'Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathizers, almost any English person would accept 'bully' as a synonym for 'Fascist' That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come.'
Ref: George Orwell: 'What is Fascism?'. Tribune-GB, London 1944
Reprinted: 'The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell' 1968.

Hope this answers your question.

By the way, didn't the same thing happen in the USA to the director of the LA Film Festival in 2008, Richard Raddon, as has just happened to Peter Vidmar? Both Mormons, both under pressure from pro gays, both resigned from their public appointments. Richard Raddon received enormous amounts of hate telephone calls and e-mails, so much so that people questioned the notion of free speech at that time. It was even reported in our newspaper. Much as I support the gay community, I do hope that does not happen to Peter Vidmar.

Proustable
05-08-2011, 07:31 PM
.... not really.

Need to read those essays, though.

overedge
05-08-2011, 08:07 PM
Seriously. overedge, I know you're playing Devil's advocate, but it's exactly that kind of ridiculous argument that peopple give (undeserving) real weight too. If I'm campaigning against people's rights, than it doesn't matter what those rights are, I shouldn't be held up as a model for others to emulate.


I don't think it's a ridiculous argument at all. The inference that's being made here is that Vidmar's views on gay marriage would make him unsuitable to carry out the job of chef de mission. At least two people quoted in Hersh's articles say that despite his views on gay marriage he has always treated gay people fairly. If Vidmar was out campaigning for gay athletes to be banned from the Olympics, I would agree that he shouldn't be the chef de mission. But no one seems to have come forward with examples of how Vidmar's views have affected his work in athletics.

And for everyone who's arguing that the Olympics have always represented equality and tolerance, and that has to be maintained - the Olympics "represented" those ideals when Jewish athletes were kept off Olympic teams, when the Olympics were held in Nazi Germany, when women weren't allowed to run races of more than 800 meters because their reproductive organs would be damaged, when a man with ties to Spanish fascism headed the IOC, when women were not being allowed to participate in the ski jumping event in 2010, etc. etc. etc. Not that such a nasty history shouldn't be reversed, but the Olympics is maybe not the best example of an organization that is an ideal of non-discrimination.

manhn
05-08-2011, 08:10 PM
At least two people quoted in Hersh's articles say that despite his views on gay marriage he has always treated gay people fairly.

I'm sure Peter has gay friends too.

attyfan
05-08-2011, 08:19 PM
What precisely does the "chef de mission" do?

barbk
05-08-2011, 09:00 PM
I have no problems being intolerant of intolerance. I have never understood why people assume I should tolerate hate in any form.


Has Peter Vidmar EVER said that he hates gay people? EVER? :confused:

There is a huge, huge gap between people who are opposed to gay marriage and people who hate gays. I don't think that 45% of the US adult population hates gays, but that is about the percentage that currently opposes gay marriage.

The sooner people quite trying to demonize those who they disagree with, the better.

Nobody has come up with one scintilla of evidence suggesting that Peter Vidmar has ever discriminated against gay athletes. His personal views -- on gay marriage, use of birth control, political parties, or global warming should have nothing to do with it.

And frankly, someone who has exhibited the kind of bad sportsmanship and trash talking Weir has demonstrated is the very last person who should be throwing stones at someone else.

manhn
05-08-2011, 10:08 PM
I wish only 45% of a country disliked gay people.