Russia to Enforce Anti-Gay Law During Olympic Games, RIA Reports

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said a law banning gay “propaganda” will be enforced during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, state-run RIA Novosti reported.

While athletes with “non-traditional sexual orientation” aren’t forbidden from attending the games in Sochi, a resort area on the Black Sea, they will be held accountable if they “propagate” it, Mutko told the news service.

The International Olympic Committee yesterday said it “received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games.”

President Vladimir Putin in July signed a law enacting a ban on “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” among minors. The maximum fine for violating the law is 1 million rubles ($30,200), applicable to legal entities. Foreign citizens charged under the law face as long as 15 days in jail and deportation from Russia.

The measure has sparked protests around the world, from calls for a boycott of the Olympic Games to gay bars in the U.S. symbolically dumping Russian vodka. A coalition of LGBT sport and human rights organizations, including the Federation of Gay Games, yesterday urged the IOC President Jacques Rogge to host Sochi Pride House “to offer a venue for all to meet safely and with freedom of expression.”

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