Obree calls for Commonwealth stance on homophobia

Cyclist Graeme Obree leading the Pedal On Parliament cycle back in May 2013. Picture: Jane Barlow.
Cyclist Graeme Obree leading the Pedal On Parliament cycle back in May 2013. Picture: Jane Barlow.
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CYCLING champion Graeme Obree is calling on Commonwealth Games organisers to bar Ugandan politicians who support the country’s anti-gay legislation.

Two-time world hour record breaker Obree, who is gay, appealed to Glasgow 2014 chairman Lord Smith to ensure Ugandan lawmakers who backed a new Bill which toughens penalties for gay people are not invited to the Games this summer. Under the proposed legislation, those convicted of homosexual acts could face life imprisonment.

An online petition created by Obree, attracted more than 1,500 signatures in its first 24 hours. The petition states: “This hateful law has shocked people across the world and those who support it are not welcome in the VIP boxes of this country,”

Obree said the new law signed by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni “will make life a nightmare for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people”.

He said: “Let’s send a loud message that the world won’t tolerate hatred. Sign here to demand the politicians who backed this brutal Bill are off the invite list for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.”

In response a Glasgow 2014 spokesman said: “Glasgow 2014 is a diverse and inclusive organisation and in line with the Commonwealth Games core value of equality, aims to engage individuals from all backgrounds, regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation.”

“We remain firmly focused on delivering a Games that can be a demonstration of the positive and unifying power of sport.

“Every Commonwealth Games Association (CGA) participating in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games is wholly responsible for extending invitations to their appropriate dignitaries, including their sovereign or head of state, sports minister and high commissioner. CGAs are also responsible for ensuring their guests are compliant with the Commonwealth Games Federation’s protocol guidelines for each nation and territory.”

“The Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee is not responsible for issuing invitations to the Commonwealth Games to foreign dignitaries.”