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Sochi Games head wants IOC to stop ‘speculation’ about Russia’s anti-gay laws

Dmitry Chernyshenko: Laws don't ban homosexuality, thus don't flout Olympic charter

Sochi Olympics head Dmitry Chernyshenko. Credit: en.rian.ru

The head of the Sochi Olympics asked the International Olympic Committee on Sept 8 to help stop “speculation” about anti-gay laws in Russia, The Associated Press reports.

Dmitry Chernyshenko told the IOC general assembly that the laws would not affect the Sochi Olympics and said, "It's very important to have your support to stop this campaign and this speculation regarding this issue."

The set of laws signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this year make it illegal to promote “nontraditional” sexual unions to children. Activists worry that the law will effectively bar all public discussion of gay issues in Russia.

Chernyshenko argued that the laws do not ban homosexuality and therefore do not contravene the IOC charter. He also cited Putin’s interview with The Associated Press last week, in which the president said Russia did not discriminate against gay people and had “absolutely normal relations” with the gay community.

At the same IOC meeting on Sept 8, marketing chairman Gerhard Heiberg said that protests over gay rights were in danger of influencing Olympic sponsors. "I think this could ruin a lot for all of us,” he said.