Nothing against gays in Russia, affirms Putin

Moscow, Sep 4 (IANS) Gay people in Russia experience no discrimination at the official level, says President Vladimir Putin.

"People of non-traditional sexual orientation are in no way abused professionally, or when it comes to the level of salaries, or even if they achieve something creatively in their work. They are not abused even from the viewpoint of the government's recognition of their achievements, when they get awards, medals," Xinhua quoted Putin as saying in an interview to Channel One TV and AP news agency.

"They are absolutely fully valued citizens of the Russian Federation, equal in their rights," Putin stressed.

In June, Putin signed a controversial law banning the promotion of "non-traditional sexual relationships" to minors.

The move sparked outcry abroad with many athletes and celebrities calling to boycott the Winter Olympics scheduled to be held in the Russian city of Sochi in February, 2014.

US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron also condemned the law.

"I work with such people, I sometimes give state medals and awards to them for their achievements in various fields," Putin told the journalists.

"Russia will strictly support the Olympic principles that do not allow discrimination against people for any reason - nationality, gender, or anything else you mentioned, including sexual orientation," he assured.

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