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Russian minister says anti-gay law applies to Olympians, visitors

Aug. 1, 2013 at 1:16 PM

MOSCOW, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Russia's sports minister said athletes and visitors at the 2014 Winter Olympics will not be exempt from the country's law against promoting homosexuality.

Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said Thursday the International Olympic Committee had been mistaken when it said last week Russian government officials did not plan for visitors and athletes at the Sochi Olympics to be subject to the controversial new law, RIA Novosti reported Thursday.

"No one is forbidding an athlete with non-traditional sexual orientation from coming to Sochi, but if he goes onto the street and starts propagandizing it, then of course he will be held accountable," Mutko said.

The law, which proponents say is aimed at protecting children from harmful influences, imposes fines for the offense of "promoting" homosexuality. Critics have called the law a crackdown on Russia's gay community, and it has been sharply criticized internationally, including by the European Court of Human Rights.

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