Skip to main content

Putin: Gays, lesbians welcome in Sochi for Olympics

By CNN Staff
updated 12:46 AM EDT, Tue October 29, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Putin: We're doing "everything" to ensure all feel comfortable in Sochi
  • Controversial law prompted calls for boycott of February's Winter Games
  • Law prohibits distribution of info to minors that promotes same-sex relationships

(CNN) -- Russian President Vladmir Putin says everyone will be welcomed to next year's Winter Olympics in Russia, regardless of sexual orientation -- comments that come on the heels of a controversial Russian law on homosexuality.

Putin made his latest assurances on the matter on Monday as he welcomed International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and other sports officials to his summer residence in Sochi -- the Black Sea resort town where the Games will happen in February -- state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported.

"We are doing everything, both the organizers and our athletes and fans, so that participants and guests feel comfortable in Sochi, regardless of nationality, race or sexual orientation," Putin said, according to RIA Novosti.

Putin in June signed a law that prohibits in Russia the distribution of information to minors that promotes same-sex relationships. The legislation gives authorities the power to impose fines as well as detain and deport foreigners who are deemed to have breached the law.

Host city races to meet Olympic deadline

The law sparked global outrage and a wave of protests demanding a boycott of the Games. In September, pop singer Cher said she had refused an invitation to perform because of the legislation.

Putin also said in an interview on state television in September that gay people would not be discriminated against at the Sochi Games. But that appeared at odds with statements made by government officials that the anti-gay propaganda law would be enforced.

The IOC in August said it received assurances "from the highest level of government in Russia" that the law would not affect people attending or taking part in the Games. The next month, the IOC said the law did not violate the Olympic Charter

In August, U.S. President Barack Obama rejected calls for his country to boycott the Games, saying such a move would hurt American athletes who trained and sacrificed to qualify.

CNNMoney's Virginia Harrison contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 4:01 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
The U.S. has promised to supply and train "acceptable" rebels in Syria to counter ISIS. But who are they and are can the strategy work?
updated 10:57 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Do the Chinese really like to mix their Bordeaux with Coca-Cola?
updated 8:08 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Al Qaeda's new Syrian branch, Khorasan, is seeking new ways to attack America and Europe, with a top U.S. intelligence official saying it has "aspirations for attacks on the homeland."
updated 8:39 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Branded an "extremist" by China's state-run media, Joshua Wong isn't even old enough to drive.
updated 2:55 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprised political pundits with his rapid rise to power. CNN meets the man behind the enigma.
updated 7:44 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Liverpool's Italian forward Mario Balotelli reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group B match between Liverpool and Ludogorets Razgrad at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool on September 16, 2014.
British police launched an investigation into abusive tweets sent to Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli.
updated 7:44 PM EDT, Sun September 21, 2014
A woman who was texting her husband before he was killed reflects on the Westgate attack.
updated 11:54 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
The real secret to a faster commute has been with us all along -- the bus.
updated 9:16 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
13 brands retained their Top 20 status from last year, according to an annual survey.
updated 11:49 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Think your new tattoo is cool? Look at how our ancestors did it and think again.
updated 6:52 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT