Putin: Gay People Welcome at Sochi Winter Olympics

The Russian President wants guests to 'feel comfortable' regardless of sexual orientation

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Adam Berry / Getty Images

Participants demonstrate in front of the Russian Embassy as part of the 'To Russia With Love' Global Kiss-In on September 8, 2013 in Berlin, Germany.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country’s anti-gay laws have been the subject of global criticism, reassured the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Monday that gay people will be welcome at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

“We are doing everything, both the organizers and our athletes and fans, so that participants and guests feel comfortable in Sochi, regardless of nationality, race or sexual orientation,” Putin told Thomas Bach, the head of the IOC.

Earlier this year Russia enacted a law banning the exposure of “homosexual propaganda” to children. Some feared it would threaten the rights of gay athletes, family members and reporters visiting Russia for the Winter Olympics.