Russia’s sports minister: Mistake to pass anti-gay law before Olympics

Russia’s sports minister: Mistake to pass anti-gay law before Olympics

MOSCOW — Russia’s sports minister says passing the gay “propaganda” law that sparked calls for boycotting the Sochi Olympics was a mistake — not because of its contents but because of its timing.

APVitaly Mutko
Vitaly Mutko

Vitaly Mutko is quoted by the RBK business newspaper as saying: “Perhaps the state authorities should have waited a little. … It was possible to calculate how much resonance it would cause in the West, especially in the run-up to the Sochi Olympics.”

The law passed in June prohibits distribution of any information that could influence minors that “nontraditional sexual relationships” are “socially equivalent to traditional relationships.”

The law criminalizes public displays of affection between same-sex couples, and foreigners breaking this law, such as those visiting Russia for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, could face arrest for up to 15 days followed by deportation.

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Russia also enacted a law this summer that prohibits LGBT Russians from adopting children and prohibits adoptions by single foreigners from countries that recognize marriage equality.

In September, a Russian lawmaker introduced legislation that would allow courts to take children away from parents who are LGBT or are suspected of being LGBT, although that bill is currently on hold.

Mutko also was quoted Monday as saying foreign opposition to the laws reflect resentment of Russia’s strength.

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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