Rush Limbaugh concocted a bizarre theory during a rant against feminism and homosexuality, arguing that Russia's ban on gay athletes at the Olympics somehow stems from a desire for population growth and a backlash against an allegedly feminist belief that children represent “an albatross” to independence.
On his August 7 broadcast, Limbaugh read from a Buzzfeed post on “Why Russia Turned Against The Gays,” which cited a Russian lawmaker saying the country's new ban on the “propaganda” of same-sex relationships -- a growing international controversy due to Russia hosting the 2014 Olympic games -- is needed in part to resolve a “demographic crisis.” Limbaugh ran with the idea, suggesting that homosexuality is a threat to a nation's economic power.
Limbaugh professed that America's population boom at the nation's founding contributed to our status as a superpower, and that Russia needs its own population boom to regain a similar status. According to Limbaugh, that is the purpose of Russia's homophobic laws: “Whether they will admit it or not,” the desire for population growth “is one of the reasons why there is this movement against homosexuality. It does not procreate. And the Russians need people,” he explained, because “it's a key element when discussing the economic growth and the power of any country.”
Inexplicably, Limbaugh then tied his discussion of economic power, population growth and homosexuality to feminism, claiming that “the elite feminist movement's got a problem with birth. Abortion they promote. It is the sacrament” to them (not the first time the radio host has leveled such a charge). Rush asserted that “one of the teachings of modern feminism” is that children are “an albatross,” just a “trap laid for women by men, to keep them home, to keep them subservient, to keep them as servants ... to occupy a woman so that the husband can run around and do whatever he wants.”
Limbaugh eventually pulled his ideas together into a final theory, supposing that the Russians must have noticed the trending feminist beliefs about childbearing and the apparent effect on the U.S. birth rate, and that is, “ergo, the reason why the ban on gay athletes at the Olympics” :
LIMBAUGH: Feminists are starting to lose themselves in these philosophical discussions, which of course are rooted in self-absorption and maybe tinges of guilt. Because what's going on here is -- it's continual -- a full-frontal assault on what has always been considered normalcy. And so the Russians -- just to close the loop on this -- the Russians and Putin are putting their foot down. They're saying, 'Enough of that. We aren't going to have that here. We need a growing population. We need a country that's growing. We need more people. We need more people working. We need more productivity. And we're not going to sign up for all this new-age, so-called elitist brilliance. So ergo, the reason why the ban on gay athletes at the Olympics.
Limbaugh's justification for Russia's homophobia is a view shared by other members of the conservative media. The same day, the Daily Caller's White House correspondent Neil Munro attacked President Obama for voicing his opposition to the Russian laws, echoing Limbaugh's assertion that a low-birth rate rationalizes anti-gay policies.