VANCOUVER — An online petition to move the upcoming Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia to Vancouver is gathering steam.
47,000 people have signed the petition so far, a dramatic increase from 6,000 signatures on Monday.
Russia is facing growing international pressure over the country’s “gay propaganda” laws.
The Russian Sport Minister has said the country intends to enforce its laws against visiting LGBT athletes, trainers and fans.
The petition, started by the organization Equality for All, is pitching Vancouver as the ideal place to move the Games.
It points out Vancouver successfully held the games in 2010 and the facilities are already in place.
Former Star Trek star and LGBT activist George Takei has come out in support of moving the Olympics to Vancouver.
In a post on his blog, Takei writes “All of the facilities are still in good condition, so this would likely be the easiest of possible alternatives.”
“With enough support, maybe the IOC and the sponsors will realize that this is a disaster in the making, and the best course is to move immediately and decisively to relocate the Winter Games of 2014.”
However, it’s unlikely the Olympics would ever be moved back to Vancouver at this point.. The Russian government has estimated $51 billion will be spent on the games and lucrative sponsorship deals have been in place for years.
Still, many LGBT people and their supporters plan to boycott the Games.
Several Vancouver gay bars have stopped serving Russian vodka in protest of the country’s anti-gay laws.