• France's news in English
 

France opposes games boycott over anti-gay law

Published: 13 Aug 2013 08:39 GMT+02:00

France's sports minister on Monday told her Russian counterpart that Paris was "worried" by the adoption of a law banning gay "propaganda" for minors that risks overshadowing the 2014 winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

French Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron told AFP that she said at a meeting with Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko in Moscow that France was "clearly opposed to all discrimination based on sexual orientation".

"I was able to tell my Russian counterpart that France was worried by the adoption and implementation of the law... which challenges the freedom of expression of any person, whether they are LGBT or not, who wants to speak out on this subject," she told AFP by telephone.

The hugely controversial law has sparked calls for a boycott of the games but Fourneyron indicated that France agreed with US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron that a boycott would not be appropriate.

"We think that it is much more our duty to continue to try and alert the Russian authorities" to the problems created by the law, she added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in June signed into law legislation that punishes the dissemination of information about homosexuality to minors but which activists say can be used for a broad crackdown against gays.

The Russian authorities have said that all athletes will be free and safe to compete at the Sochi Games regardless of their sexual orientation but must obey Russian law.

Foreigners found guilty of violating the law can not only be fined up to 5,000 rubles (€114, $156) but face administrative arrest of up to 15 days and eventual deportation.

The head of Russia's Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov on Monday reaffirmed the official line that while all athletes were welcome in Sochi they would have to obey the controversial law.

"We will do everything to make sure that all our guests feel comfortable and safe," Russian news agencies quoted Zhukov as saying.

"If a person does not announce his opinions (about homosexuality) in the presence of children then no measures will be used against him - citizens of a non-traditional sexual orientation will be able to take part without any problem in the competitions or any other events," he added.

The interior ministry meanwhile issued a statement insisting that there would be no discrimination at the Games, saying such allegations were aimed at "undermining trust" in the event.

The propaganda law is not te only example of how France's stance on gay rights differs markedly from that of Putin's Russia.

Earlier this year, following France's vote to legalize gay marriage, Russian lawmakers passed a bill which placed tough restrictions on adoption to countries where same-sex marriages are legal.

Same-sex marriages are currently legal in 14 countries, including Canada, Belgium, Spain, Norway and Sweden, with France being the latest addition to the list.

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Gay support for National Front on the rise
Gay rights leader Sebastien Chenu with Marine Le Pen. Photo: AFP

Gay support for National Front on the rise

A recent survey shows gay support for the National Front is rising. Some gays say the far-right party is more open to minorities than France’s mainstream parties, despite a history of homophobia. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Co-pilot 'hid sick leave note' for day of crash
Details about the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz began emerging on Friday, including the fact he had been signed off sick for the day of the crash.

Co-pilot 'hid sick leave note' for day of crash

German prosecutors revealed on Friday that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who is believed to have deliberately crashed the Germanwings plane in the Alps, had a sick leave note from his doctor for the day of the crash, but hid his illness from his employers. READ  

IN PICTURES
Harrowing search at Alps plane crash site goes on
The search continues in the French Alps. Photo: French Interior Ministry/Twitter

Harrowing search at Alps plane crash site goes on

UPDATED: French authorities are yet to find any intact bodies as they continue the painstaking search for victim body parts among the wreckage of the Germanwings plane that crashed in the Alps. Investigators are also hunting for the second black box. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Brother of Alps crash victim: 'I am in a rage'
Claude Driessens, who lost his brother Christian in the plane crash. Photo: BFMTV

Brother of Alps crash victim: 'I am in a rage'

Friends and family members of the victims of the Germanwings plane crash have been left horrified and angry after the revelations that the co-pilot deliberately downed the plane and that he had been signed off sick for the day of the crash. The Local speaks to one man who lost his brother. READ  

What's on in France: Ten things to do in April
Runners at the annual Paris marathon. Photo: AFP

What's on in France: Ten things to do in April

Spring has finally arrived, and it promises a series of fun activities from the Paris marathons to epic Easter egg hunts. Here are ten events in April definitely worth checking out. READ  

Consumer confidence in France hits five-year high
Consumer spending is on the rise in France. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

Consumer confidence in France hits five-year high

French consumer confidence has hit a five-year high, the Insee statistics agency said on Friday, signalling that households feel more optimistic about the country's growth. READ  

Paris: Iron Lady to dim lights for Earth Hour
The Eiffel Tower will momentarily lose its sparkle to mark Earth Hour. Eiffel Tower photo: Shutterstock

Paris: Iron Lady to dim lights for Earth Hour

It may be known as the City of Light but on Saturday evening even Paris and its most famous monument the Eiffel Tower will go dark to mark Earth Hour. Parisians will then have to dance for the Iron Lady to be restored to its glittering glory. READ  

Islamophobia in France
Pregnant Muslim woman attacked in France
Muslim women protest about France's decision to ban the veil. Photo: AFP

Pregnant Muslim woman attacked in France

A headscarf-wearing Muslim woman in her final month of pregnancy was violently assaulted in southern France this week, in what has been labelled an Islamophobic attack. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
IN PICTURES: Grieving relatives visit crash site
Rescuers hold American, Spanish, German and British flags infront of the relatives of the victims of the plane crash on Thursday. Photo: AFP

IN PICTURES: Grieving relatives visit crash site

Dozens of grieving family members have gathered in the small village in the French Alps near to where the Germanwings plane crashed into the mountainside killing all 150 people on board. A remembrance ceremony was held on Thursday. READ  

Marion Cotillard to take Joan of Arc to New York
French actress Marion Cotillard performs in Joan of Arc. Photo: AFP

Marion Cotillard to take Joan of Arc to New York

French actress Marion Cotillard will play Joan of Arc with the New York Philharmonic in a production of Arthur Honegger's oratorio, the orchestra announced on Thursday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
What's on in France: Ten things to do in April
National
Images released of the harrowing search at Alps plane crash site
IN PICTURES: Grieving relatives visit plane crash site in Alps
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
National
Paris: France mulls lifting ban on casinos
Damaged black box could hold key to Alps plane crash probe
Does low cost mean low safety? Questions after Germanwings crash
Gallery
IN PICTURES: A timeline of the Alps plane crash
National
So what might have caused the plane crash in the French Alps?
National
Videos emerge of Alps crash site wreckage
National
What we know so far about the plane crash in the French Alps
National
Where in La Belle France do British expats avoid?
National
IN PICTURES: 'Tide of the century' draws tens of thousands
National
Paris ends smog-fighting restrictions as the air finally clears
National
The main mistakes made by French property buyers
National
International French Language day: But what does the future hold?
National
IN PICTURES: What went on behind the clouds during Friday's eclipse
National
French food porn: What is the Gallic grub that goes viral the most?
Culture
France treated to rare Northern Lights show
Politics
Shady candidates undermine French far-right's election bid once again
Politics
French minister takes a swipe at overuse of Franglais in workplace
French gastronomy set for global charm offensive
French newspaper stuns readers with porn film pics on front page
Sport
The reasons why Zlatan Ibrahimovic might really think France is s**t
National
France could soon ban skinny models from catwalks
Health
Is France's much-envied health care system under threat?
National
There are jobs in France where you don't need to speak French
National
New plan to improve life in rural France drawn up
Education
Paris universities on the up in new rankings
Sport
We meet one of the most entertaining footballers in France
National
New plan to improve life in rural France drawn up
Features
Forget Paris. Is Bordeaux the best place to live in France?
Travel
Runaway plane mows down skier on the slopes of French Alps
Society
Friday 13th: A look at France's superstitions
Culture
France is ready to end its stubborn resistance to the English language
Features
'Hedgehog' and other words that French people simply can't say
Society
The worst 'nightmares' of living in France (written by a Frenchman)
Health
French hospitals crisis: 'It's like the UK under Margaret Thatcher'
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in France
VIDEO: Footage emerges of the moment two helicopters collided
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Helicopter crash kills 10, including French sports stars
Culture
What's on in France: Ten things to do in March
New French rail strike: RER B and regional trains to be worst hit
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se