NB: This story has been corrected. The original version mistakenly identified the PACE lawmakers as members of the European Parliament. Several of Naryshkin's quotes have also been rendered more precisely.
STRASBOURG, October 1 (RIA Novosti) – The speaker of the Russian parliament invited European lawmakers Tuesday to come to Moscow to see the city's gay clubs and observe for themselves that sexual minorities' rights in Russia are not being violated.
“We have plenty of successful people here who have a non-traditional sexual orientation. They are successful in business, the arts, in all spheres of creative activity,” State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin told a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). “They have a right to relax, and to relax in comfort, in Moscow and other cities across Russia.”
Russia has "many so-called gay clubs" where visitors can have a good time, he said, adding that he has not been to one himself but “witnesses” have said as much.
“If someone wants to get confirmation of this, please – I’m inviting [them] to Moscow,” Naryshkin said. “Unfortunately, I won’t be able to come to a club with you, but I’ll definitely take care of you.”
The issue of gay rights in Russia became the focus of renewed debate earlier this year when a law came into force banning the propagation of information to minors about "non-traditional" relationships. The law was met with international criticism, with some gay activists abroad even calling for a boycott of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.