The Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has told the world to “calm down” over Russia’s recently passed laws that ban the bans the “promotion of non-traditional relationships”.
Mr Mutko told a press conference: “I want to ask you to calm down as in addition to this law we have a constitution that guarantees all citizens a private life.
“It is not intended to deprive people of any religion, race or sexual orientation but to ban the promotion of non-traditional relations among the young generation.
“I was in Sochi yesterday and all the athletes and organizations should be relaxed, their rights will be protected…but of course you have to respect the laws of the country you are in.”
President Vladimir Putin signed the law in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors, a move that has been criticised as part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community.
Today PinkNews published its 20 most shocking stories out of Russia so far, which includes a rise in violent incidents involving LGBT people. This includes arrests under the new laws, and incidents such as a man being raped with a beer bottle and murdered, for revealing that he was gay.
Conservative MP Mike Freer today told PinkNews he is appalled by the Russian Government’s stance on gay equality and that he would like the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to consider moving the 2014 Winter Olympics from Russia.
Yesterday, author and television presenter Stephen Fry wrote an open letter to David Cameron, International Olympics Committee President Jacques Rogge and Lord Coe, urging for the 2014 Winter Olympics to not take place in Sochi.
In a statement, the IOC said it “respected Mr Fry’s opinion” and the committee was clear that “sport is a human right and should be available to all regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation”.
On Thursday, the Shadow Foreign and Commonwealth Minister for Human Rights, Kerry McCarthy, told PinkNews that the UK Government needed to use next month’s G20 meeting in St Petersburg to raise the issue of gay rights with Russia.
A UK Government source also said that they anticipated the issue of homophobic oppression in Russia would be raised at the G20 Heads of Government meeting.