MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday spoke out against intolerance of sexual minorities, and reiterated that a recently adopted law to prevent the promotion of homosexuality was designed to protect children.
“Xenophobia should not be fostered in society, no matter on what criterion it is based, including sexual orientation,” Putin told a meeting of opposition parties.
He said he had received “a lot of criticism” for the law, which bans promoting homosexuality to minors, but he emphasized that it was instated to shelter children from adult issues.
Critics have alleged that the law, which Putin signed in June, restricts freedom of speech and is part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community.
The law’s proponents, including Putin himself, have repeatedly said it was aimed at protecting children.
The legislation has given rise to calls from some activists to boycott the February 7-23 Olympics in Sochi.