WASHINGTON, August 9 (RIA Novosti) – US President Barack Obama said Friday he was "offended" by a new Russian law on homosexuality but rejected calls from critics for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, early next year.
"I do not think it is appropriate to boycott the Olympics," Obama said at a White House news conference, saying such a move would only punish athletes who have worked hard to make it to the Olympic competition.
Obama added however that "nobody's more offended than me by some of the anti-gay and lesbian legislation that you've been seeing in Russia."
Russian officials have stressed that the new Russian law, signed by President Vladimir Putin in June, was designed to protect minors from "propaganda" about "non-traditional sexual orientations." Critics have said the law is too vaguely worded and is tantamount to discrimination against homosexuals, something Russian officials deny.
Obama said he hopes that US gay or lesbian athletes would win medals at the Sochi games.
"If Russia doesn't have any gay or lesbian athletes then it will probably make their team weaker," Obama said.