Another weird glimpse into President Vladimir Putin’s bizarro world was revealed today when the Russian leader said gay people have nothing to fear in his country as long as they leave the children alone.
“One can feel calm and at ease,” he said. “Just leave kids alone, please.”
Putin’s homophobic remark came during a meeting with a group of volunteers in the Olympic mountain venue at Krasnaya Polyana, where Putin wished them success at the Winter Games, which begin Feb. 7. During a question-and-answer session, one volunteer asked him about Russia’s attitudes toward gays, a subject that has provoked worldwide controversy, and Putin figured his response would serve as a reassuring answer.
Of course, the comment obviously carries with it the clear intimation that gays might prey on children.
Gay rights have become a contentious issue at the Olympics, what with Russia passing a law last year prohibiting the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual practices” among minors. The law has been used to ban gay rights parades — children might see them — and to curb discussion of gay issues on television and in newspapers for fear that those under 18 might hear or read about homosexuality.