The IOC received a letter from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak giving reassurances the host country will comply fully with the Olympic Charter's provision against discrimination of any kind. However, Kozak did not back down on the issue of the new law, which penalizes anyone who distributes information aimed at persuading minors that "nontraditional" relationships are normal or attractive. The law applies equally to everyone and "cannot be regarded as discrimination based on sexual orientation," Kozak said. The letter still leaves open the question of what would happen to Olympic athletes or fans if they make statements or gestures that could be considered propaganda.
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Russia's parliament has unanimously passed a federal law banning gay "propaganda" amid a Kremlin push to enshrine deeply conservative values that critics say has already led to a sharp increase in anti-gay violence. The law passed on Tuesday, with just one deputy abstaining from voting on the bill, which bans the spreading of "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" among minors. The law in effect makes it illegal to equate straight and gay relationships, as well as the distribution of material on gay rights. It introduces fines for individuals and media groups found guilty of breaking the law, as well as special fines for foreigners. Minutes after passing the anti-gay legislation, the Duma also approved a new law allowing jail sentences of up to three years for "offending religious feelings", an initiative launched in the wake of the trial against the anti-Kremlin punk band Pussy Riot. The two laws were widely criticised by Russia's marginalised liberal and human rights communities and come amid a wider crackdown against independent civil activity in the country.
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The clip, posted online this week, shows a boy going from joy to heartbreak as he discovers his new parents are men. The ad had created an online furore that experts said could help garner support for the reform vote, which could let President Vladimir Putin extend his long rule. Only heterosexual couples can adopt children in Russia. A woman working at the orphanage watches on, then spits on the floor in disgust. Anther proposed amendment spells out that marriage means a union between a man and a woman - and nothing else.