Russian official says gay behavior won't be punished at 2014 Olympics

Aug. 7, 2013 at 3:50 PM
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MOSCOW, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Gay rights will not be not infringed upon at any time during the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, a top Russian government official insisted Wednesday.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said "there will be no diminishing of rights based on sexual orientation at the Olympics, neither before nor after," RIA Novosti reported.

Kozak's statement was prompted by calls by Western activists to boycott the games after President Vladimir Putin signed a law in June banning the display of any "non-traditional sexual orientation" to minors.

"No one should have any concerns whatsoever," Kozak asserted. "People can get on with their private lives, and spread their respective advantages and attraction among adults. The main thing is that this doesn't touch children."

Russian officials have had mixed messages about how gays and lesbians at the Olympics might be affected by the law.

The International Olympic Committee told R-Sport this month it had received assurances from "the highest level" of the Russian government that neither competitors or visitors would be impacted.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko later told R-Sport anyone found to be "propagandizing" gay relationships would be "held accountable."

International groups and organizations, including the European Court of Human Rights, have criticized Russia for its treatment of gays and lesbians.

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