The 2013 list of the worst homophobes of the year has been released by The Advocate. This year they got it all right. There is no question that President Putin and the Putin Punks deserve the award.
Here is a sampling of the list and you can see the entire list by clicking here.
PHOBIE OF THE YEAR: VLADIMIR PUTIN
To hold the president or Russia responsible for every antigay moment within his country's border might be unfair. But it's far less offensive than what's happening to LGBT Russians.
A Neo-Nazi group is posting video of gay men it captures and then tortures with humiliating and often violent means. Someone threw poison gas into a gay nightclub in Moscow in November, and that was the second time it had been attacked in a week. The first time men showed up with guns and shot at the front door indiscriminately.
Meanwhile, Putin is touting his Olympic games in Sochi, suggesting that maybe the series of antigay laws he signed won't be enforced. In 2013, Putin signed a law banning any foreigner from adopting a Russian child if they come from a country supportive of marriage equality. Now the standard is so strict that Russia's Children Rights Commissioner says only Italy is narrow-minded enough to meet the qualifications. And Putin famously signed the so-called "gay propaganda" ban this year. It's a law so vague that Olympians could be fined or jailed for kissing their partners. Putin told the International Olympic Committee that he will do "everything" to ensure guests are "comfortable" in Sochi. But he's also banned any protest of any kind there while the games go on. And photos of those daring to protest the law already show vicious beatings as a result. This is the sort of thing that Pride parades were invented to combat. But we're now one year into a 100-year ban of those in Moscow thanks to a law passed in 2012.
To be named Phobie of the Year seems like a slap on the wrist compared to what LGBT activists in the United States are actually worried about. When activist and Broadway producer Harvey Fierstein wrote his op-ed in the New York Times that drew so much attention from the mainstream to this problem, he invoked the specter of the 1936 Olympic games. "In 1936 the world attended the Olympics in Germany. Few participants said a word about Hitler's campaign against the Jews," he wrote. "Supporters of that decision point proudly to the triumph of Jesse Owens, while I point with dread to the Holocaust and world war. There is a price for tolerating intolerance." What an ominous games 2014 may be. While the Olympic charter claims to promote "human dignity," and the event will draw the world's attention in February, the Russian parliament is on the verge of considering yet another law. This one would order children with gay or lesbian parents to be taken from their homes. That's because in twisted Russia it's LGBT people who are considered a danger, and not their government.
Additional Phobie Award Winners Include:
PHOBIE AWARD: SEN. MARCO RUBIO
This Republican golden boy helped broker a deal in the Senate on comprehensive immigration reform while simultaneously threatening to toss out his signature piece of legislation if Democrats added help for same-sex couples who were being split up by outdated immigration rules. "If this bill has in it something that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill, he said on conservative radio in June. "I'm gone, I'm off it, and I've said that repeatedly."
PHOBIE AWARD: ANTONIN SCALIA
Justice Antonin Scalia has recently taken his homophobia on a speaking tour, arguing regularly that judges shouldn't make decisions on what he sees as moral issues, not constitutional ones. For his part, Scalia claimed repeatedly this year that "I haven't expressed my view about gay marriage." That seemed odd given his snarky dissent in the Supreme Court's landmark Defense of Marriage Act case, Windsor v. U.S. "As I have observed before, the Constitution does not forbid the government to enforce traditional moral and sexual norms," he wrote, referring to his epic dissent in 2003's Lawrence v. Texas.
PHOBIE AWARD: THE GOP'S VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL TICKET
PHOBIE AWARD: DICTATOR ROBERT MUGABE
This isn't the president of Zimbabwe's first appearance on our list of homophobes. He actually made "The 45 Biggest Homophobes of Our 45 Years" list back in 2012. Mugabe's done everything from calling gays worse than pigs and dogs in 1995 to locking up a member of parliament in 2011 for publicly suggesting the aging dictator might be gay himself.
PHOBIE AWARD: TIMOTHY DOLAN
The Roman Catholic Church doesn’t have antigay doctrine; it just has a public relations problem, says the archbishop of New York, leader of one of the largest Catholic archdioceses in the nation. “I think maybe we’ve been out-marketed sometimes,” he said on Meet the Press recently. “We’ve been caricatured as being antigay.” Oh, never mind that Dolan was a prominent opponent of New York State’s marriage equality law, and that he thinks “redefinition” of marriage is akin to totalitarianism and will lead us on the slippery slope to polygamy.
PHOBIE AWARD: PAT ROBERTSON
If we gave out an award for the single worst thing anyone said all year, Pat Robertson would get that award. But it would be hard to pick which of his comments was 2013's most offensive. There was his conspiracy theory in August about gay death rings. Basically, Robertson suggested that men in San Francisco wear very sharp rings that could cut you during a handshake and spread HIV.
PHOBIE AWARD: LOUIE GOHMERT
Gohmert is a prime contender for the title of most homophobic member of Congress, and the Texas Republican is certainly one of the most outrageous and illogical. In his antigay rants this year, he hit the usual notes of linking marriage equality to bestiality and polygamy, gay Boy Scouts to pedophilia, and hate-crimes laws to the end of religious freedom.