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President Barack Obama, actor Stephen Fry raise gay rights as key Sochi issue (with Tonight video)

BY GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP SPORTS WRITER

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- With the Sochi Olympics six months away, U.S. President Barack Obama, British actor Stephen Fry and international gay rights group All Out have increased attention on Russia over its new anti-gay law.

The law, which was signed by President Vladimir Putin in June, bans "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" and had already seemed likely to spark protests until the end of the Feb. 7-23 Winter Games. The issue gained more momentum Wednesday as Moscow prepares to host International Olympic Committee leaders for meetings before the start of the athletics world championships on Saturday.

Obama canceled a planned September meeting in the city with Putin in a diplomatic rebuke over Russia's harboring of NSA leaker Edward Snowden, having also said in a television interview hours earlier that he had "no patience" with countries that discriminate against gay people.

"I think they (Putin and Russia) understand that for most of the countries that participate in the Olympics, we wouldn't tolerate gays and lesbians being treated differently," Obama said Tuesday to host Jay Leno on NBC's "The Tonight Show."

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Gay issues all over the world are getting attention which is good.

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