SOCHI, Russia -- Russian President Vladimir Putin says gays should feel welcome at the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, but they must "leave the children in peace."
Putin told volunteers
Friday that gays visiting Sochi "can feel calm and at ease," and
vowed that there would be no discrimination at the games. But he emphasized
that, according to a law banning homosexual "propaganda" among
minors, gays cannot express their views on gay rights issues to anyone
In the wake of international outcry against the bill, Russian authorities have put limits on the right to protest during the Sochi games, which run Feb. 7-23.
"It's absurd that a country like that sends four lesbians to Russia
just to demonstrate that in their country gay rights have (been
established)," Mario Pescante said at an Italian Olympic Committee meeting
in Milan on Wednesday, in comments widely reported by Italian media. "The
games should not be an occasion and a stage to promote rights that sports
In an interview with CBSNews.com in December, Cahow said that she doubted that Mr. Obama waited until the Sochi Olympics to send a message to Russia.
"He's been very clear about his thoughts about Russian policy, and he's been very clear about his thoughts on LGBT policy here at home," she said. "I'm going to Russia representing a country that's made dramatic shifts on these particular issues over the last few years."