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 8:09 PM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
Brazil's oldest foe secures its place in the World Cup final for the first time in more than two decades after defeating the Netherlands on penalties.
updated 10:23 AM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
Israel has deployed its Iron Dome defense system to halt incoming rockets. Here's how it works.
A high speed train leaves Beijing south railway station on August 11, 2011.
How Beijing built the world's largest high-speed rail network in less than a decade.
updated 6:56 AM EDT, Thu July 10, 2014
CNN's Becky Anderson looks at how practicing underwater is the perfect way to prepare for spacewalks.
updated 5:17 AM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
An emotional Brazil fan reacts after being defeated by Germany 7-1 during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Semi Final match between Brazil and Germany at Estadio Mineirao on July 8, 2014 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Spectacular Germany outplays Brazil to reach the World Cup final with a 7-1 win over the hosts.
Even those who aren't in the line of fire feel the effects of the chaos that has engulfed Iraq since extremists attacked.
updated 2:41 AM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
CNN's Jim Bittermann takes a look at a family who found the remains of their great- grandfather 100 years later.
updated 8:08 PM EDT, Tue July 8, 2014
Israelis and Palestinians have entered another yet violent cycle of reaction and counterreaction. Here are five things to keep in mind.
updated 7:18 PM EDT, Mon July 7, 2014
Traveling to the U.S.? You could be delayed if your electronic device has a dead battery.
updated 5:57 PM EDT, Tue July 8, 2014
With one hand, Zahra Hassan clutches a purse that matches her red blouse and skirt trimmed in blue. In the other, she holds an AK-47.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT