The Ottumwa Courier

August 22, 2013

Russia defends anti-gay law in letter to IOC

STEPHEN WILSON
AP Sports Writer

---- — LONDON (AP) — The Russian government has told the IOC it will not discriminate against homosexuals during the Sochi Olympics, while defending its law against gay "propaganda."

The IOC received a letter Thursday from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak giving assurances the host country will comply with the Olympic Charter's provision against discrimination of any kind.

However, Kozak didn't back down on the issue of the new law, which penalizes anyone who distributes information aimed at persuading minors that "nontraditional" relationships are normal or attractive.

The law has caused an international backlash ahead of the Feb. 7-23 Winter Olympics in the Russian resort of Sochi.

Kozak says the law applies equally to everyone and "cannot be regarded as discrimination based on sexual orientation."

IOC President Jacques Rogge says "we have today received strong written reassurances from the Russian government that everyone will be welcome at the games in Sochi regardless of their sexual orientation."