Russian President Vladimir Putin recently defended his country's new controversial anti-gay law, and explained that it was not intended to discriminate against anyone.
"It seems to me that the law that we have adopted does not hurt anyone," he said during an interview in Sochi on Friday. "Moreover, individuals of non-traditional orientation cannot feel like second-rate humans in this country because they are not discriminated against in any way."
The new law was passed last year, and according to Putin, outlaws "propaganda" of "non-traditional sexual relations" around minors. However, many residents have realized that the law outlaws public homosexuality completely. "It has nothing to do with persecuting people for their non-traditional orientation," Putin said. "My personal position is that society must keep children safe."
The most recent concern was that gay athletes would receive criticism at the Sochi Olympics. However, Putin assures us that that will not happen. "I couldn't care less about their sexual orientation. We will welcome all athletes and all visitors to the Olympics," he said. "None of our guests will have any problems."
"The Russian people have their own cultural code, their own tradition," Putin said when he heard that several countries had considered boycotting the Olympics. "We don't interfere, don't stick our noses in their life and we ask that our traditions and culture are treated with the same respect."
Although President Barack Obama will not be attending the Sochi Olympics, he has picked several interesting candidates to send in his place as part of the presidential delegation. The delegation will include tennis player and LGBT activist Billie Jean King, and the openly gay hockey player Caitlin Cahow. Obama's decision to send openly gay athletes is sending a clear message to Russia, regarding their new law.
“Basically, the White House is highlighting Americans who know what it means to have freedoms and liberties under the Constitution. That’s really what we’re representing in Sochi and it’s not at all different from what’s espoused in the spirit of Olympism,” Cahow explained. “So I think it’s just a great group of people. I can’t believe I’ve been named one of them because it’s a remarkable roster and I just think that we’re going to represent what the best America can be. Hopefully, it will unify all of Team USA and send a message of love and acceptance to the world.”
"Between major countries there certainly always are some common ground and points of tension," Putin said. "With respect to athletes I'd recommend and advise them not to think about the political differences. Politics should not interfere with sports. And sports should impact politics."
What do you think about Russia's anti-gay propaganda law? Leave your comments below.
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