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Published: 1/19/2014

Putin offers new assurances to gays at Sochi Olympics but equates homosexuals with pedophiles

ASSOCIATED PRESS

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered new assurances to gay athletes and fans attending the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics next month. Yet he defends Russia’s anti-gay law by equating gays with pedophiles and says Russia needs to “cleanse” itself of homosexuality if it wants to increase its birth rate.

Putin’s comments in a TV interview broadcast Sunday still show the wide gulf between the perception of homosexuality in Russia versus the West. A Russian law passed last year banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” among minors has caused an international outcry.

Putin refused to answer a question on whether he believes that people are born gay or become gay. The Russian law, however, suggests that information about homosexuality can influence a child’s sexual orientation.



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