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Groups Want Human Rights Guarantees from Future Olympic Hosts

<p>The groups, outraged by anti-gay laws in Russia, want 'fairer future Olympics.'</p>
A group of gay and lesbian activists hold a banner of the rainbow flag, the Olympic rings and the words 'To Russia with love' as they stage a Valentine's Day kissing protest in Beijing on Feb. 14, 2014, aimed at highlighting Russia's controversial anti-homosexuality laws. STR / AFP - Getty Images

SOCHI, Russia — Human rights and gay rights organizations, outraged by anti-gay laws in the Olympic host country of Russia, want the International Olympic Committee to demand human rights guarantees before it awards future games.

In an open letter to Thomas Bach, the IOC president, almost three dozen organizations said the IOC should not award the Olympics to countries that have discriminatory laws on the books.

Russia last year criminalized the spread of gay “propaganda” to minors and made it more difficult for gays to adopt. Human rights organizations say Russian gays are routinely attacked, beaten and intimidated.

The letter said that while the Olympic flame will be extinguished Sunday in Sochi, “The hopes of people throughout the world for fairer future Olympics should not be.”

The organizations also want the IOC to amend Principle 6 of the Olympic charter to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The language currently states the Olympics opposes discrimination by “race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise.”

The IOC did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday. Bach said before the games that he was satisfied by Russia’s assurances that there would be no discrimination against Olympic athletes or visitors.

During the games, a transgender former member of the Italian parliament said she was detained after unfurling a rainbow banner, and members of the punk band Pussy Riot, which opposes President Vladimir Putin, were detained and whipped by Cossacks.

— Erin McClam