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Looking Out: Russia's anti-gay law will be enforced at Sochi, minister says

Despite previous assurances from the International Olympic Committee, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said that athletes and spectators at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics could be arrested for violating Russia's anti-LGBT propaganda law.

"No one is forbidding an athlete with non-traditional sexual orientation from coming to Sochi, but if he goes onto the street and starts propagandizing it, then of course he will be held accountable," Mutko told Russian media outlet R-Sport.

Mutko's remarks come a week after the IOC released a statement saying it had been told by "the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games."

The law in question remains vague, perhaps intentionally so, making it difficult to tell where the line is between having a "non-traditional sexual orientation" and "propagandizing." With both Russian citizens and foreigners having been arrested under the law, some LGBT activists have mounted calls for a boycott of the Olympics. Others have focused on affecting the country's businesses by boycotting Russian vodka.

Both Mutko's comments and the IOC's come as Russia receives increased attention for some of its citizens' despicable actions against LGBT youth. Reports emerged last week that a Russian neo-Nazi group has allegedly been luring gay teens with personal ads, then bullying and torturing them. After recording the whole thing, the group posts video on the Internet to publicly shame the teens it has already abused. On that appalling news, the IOC has remained silent.

What's clear is that either Mutko or the IOC are mistaken -- or lying -- and that both Russian authorities and the Olympics head honchos need to get on the same page before February. (For that matter, so does NBC.)

Even clearer: International attention isn't swaying anyone in the Kremlin's decision-making. As attacks continue on LGBT teens, it's time for some entity to start applying more pressure.

As for news that's closer to home:

So, what LGBT-related news have you been talking about this week?

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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