The controversy over Russia’s new law banning public ‘promotion’ of homosexuality continued to cast a shadow over the athletics world championships in Moscow right up until the final day.
With international unease growing over whether it will apply to athletes and spectators at the next major sporting event to be held in Russia, the country’s sports minister has tried to defend the law.
However during a press conference, Vitaly Mutko added fuel to the flames by likening homosexuality to drug abuse:
“We want to protect our children whose minds have not yet been shaped by the propaganda of drug abuse, alcoholism and non-traditional sexual relationships. We want them to make their own decisions when they grow up, that’s what this law is directed at. We say ‘Welcome to Russia, to the Olympics in Sochi!’ Let me say once again all rights and freedoms of citizens will be protected.”
Although preparations are nearing completion for the Winter Games to be held in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi next year, the International Olympic Committee is seeking clarification from Russia about the new law. Critics claim the legislation could be used to prosecute anyone voicing support for homosexuals.