A new anti-gay law has been approved in Russia which will impose fines on people accused of promoting "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations."
The controversial law was approved and signed back in June this year by President Vladimir Putin himself. Various other measures are being taken as well, such as penalties for people who express 'gay pride' on the internet or via the media.
Yahoo.com reports that Russia's sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, spoke on Thursday about the new Russian anti-gay law:
''An athlete of nontraditional sexual orientation isn't banned from coming to Sochi. But if he goes out into the streets and starts to propagandize, then of course he will be held accountable.''
Mutko was clear that the new law doesn't forbid gays from participating in the Olymipics, saying: ''The corresponding law doesn't forbid non-traditional orientation, but other things: propaganda, involvement of minors and young people.''
Any foreign athletes, or supporters of the games, could be fined up to around $3,000 and face 2 weeks in jail, and even deportation, if they engage in promoting gay and lesbian rights at the 2014 Olympics in Russia,
Activists from the gay community are struggling to find a legitimate and appropriate response to the new anti-gay law in Russia; So far they have called for Russian products such as Stolichana vodka to be boycotted by people in America. Some athletes though, participating in the games seem to be against a boycott, favoring individual protest gestures like gay pride parades, which they will hold during the 2014 Olympics.
A senior IOC committee member, Mark Adams, said on Thursday that the IOC had received assurances from Russia that the new anti-gay law will not affect those taking part in the Olympics, or the spectators who come to watch them:
''At the same time we always say to our athletes, 'We do not want any demonstrations in one or the other direction. Please, you are there to compete and behave. Please don't go out on the Net or in the streets. I think it was very clear for London in 2012 and it will be very clear in 2014. Demonstrations in one way or another, no, but discrimination, absolutely not.''
What do you think about the new Russian anti-gay law? Do you think it is wrong for the government of Russia to get involved and punish people for their sexual orientation? Share your thoughts in the comments below.