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Russia Official Confirms Anti-Gay Law Won’t be Suspended for Olympics

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Monday Aug 12, 2013
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Russia’s Interior Ministry, which oversees the country’s police force, confirmed on Monday that Russia’s highly controversial "homosexual propaganda" law will not be suspended during the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, according to Russia’s official state news agency, RIA Novosti.

Over the past few weeks, many have been confused if the Russian government would enforce the anti-gay law during the Games. Last month, officials from the International Olympics Committee said they have received "assurances from the highest level" of Russian government that athletes and fans will not be subjected to the measure. Shortly after their announcement on July 30, however, Vitaly Milonov, a Russian lawmaker who helped create the law in St. Petersburg, insisted the law cannot be suspended.

"I haven’t heard any comments from the government of the Russian Federation, but I know that it is acting in accordance with Russian law," Milonov said. "And if a law has been approved by the federal legislature and signed by the president, then the government has no right to suspend it. It doesn’t have the authority."

Earlier this month the Associated Press reported Russia’s sports minister also indicated the law would be enforced.

"An athlete of nontraditional sexual orientation isn’t banned from coming to Sochi," Vitaly Mutko said in an interview with R-Sport, the sports newswire of state news agency RIA Novosti. "But if he goes out into the streets and starts to propagandize, then of course he will be held accountable."

Now as RIA Novosti reports, an official from Russia’s Interior Ministry released a statement Monday saying, "The law enforcement agencies can have no qualms with people who harbor a nontraditional sexual orientation and do not commit such acts [to promote homosexuality to minors], do not conduct any kind of provocation and take part in the Olympics peacefully."

"Any discussion on violating the rights of representatives of nontraditional sexual orientations, stopping them from taking part in the Olympic Games or discrimination of athletes and guests of the Olympics according to their sexual orientation is totally unfounded and contrived," the statement added.

The head of Russia’s National Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov also commented on the issue.

"If a person does not put across his views in the presence of children, no measures against him can be taken," Zhukov said. "People of nontraditional sexual orientations can take part in the competitions and all other events at the Games unhindered, without any fear for their safety whatsoever."

Some LGBT activist and supporters are confused over the law’s vaguely worded language and what constitutes as "promoting homosexuality" to minors. Those who violate the law face a fine and jail time, AP reports.

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