SOCHI, Russia -- Russian President Vladimir Putin sought Friday to reassure gay visitors to the Sochi Games that they are welcome in Russia, but added that they must "leave the children in peace."
Responding to a question from an Olympics volunteer during a visit in the Black Sea resort city, Putin vowed that gays face no discrimination in Russia and could feel "at ease." But he emphasized that because of a Russian law banning gay "propaganda" among minors, they cannot express their views on gay rights issues to anyone under age.
Putin appeared to lump homosexuality and pedophilia together. "We have no ban on nontraditional sexual relations. We have a ban on propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia, I want to underline that, on propaganda among minors," he said.