• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

France opposes games boycott over anti-gay law

AFP/The Local · 13 Aug 2013, 08:39

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.

Story continues below…

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
Paris luxury hotel told to pay up after guest molests cleaner

A cleaner who was molested at a Paris luxury hotel by a Qatari guest has reportedly been awarded €57,000.

Frenchman leading Brexit negotiations starts new job
Photo: AFP

Frenchman Michel Barnier officially starts work as the European Commission's Brexit negotiator on Saturday in an appointment that British media called a "declaration of war".

VIDEO: Frenchman goes on iPhone-smashing rampage
Photo: YouTube Screenshot

Meet France's angriest Apple customer.

Nuit Blanche: Get set for an all-night party in Paris
Photo: La Nuit Blanche

Will YOU be heading down to the Seine on Saturday?

France told there's no more money for TGVs
High speed TGV trains parked in Lille. Photo: AFP

A report from the French senate has recommended that three planned high speed rail networks be scrapped.

Frenchman surfs again after shark bites off his leg
All photos: AFP

Meet the amputee Frenchman who is surfing again he was attacked by a shark.

Paris motorists to fund city's public transport system
Photo: AFP

Motorists in the Ile-de-France region will be hit by a tax rise in order to finance the city's trains and buses.

More French women becoming mothers after 40
French mums are getting older. File photo: Pexels

French mums are getting older, but the overall birthrate has fallen.

Paris police bust high-rolling gang of pram thieves
Photo: Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr

A gang of thieves has been caught after they pinched an estimated €100,000 worth of prams.

French banned from 'Mona Lisa smile' on photo IDs
You can forget a smile like this on your passport photo.

The French are going to have to remain grumpy-looking, at least on their passport photos.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
It's official: France finally gets its new map
National
VIDEOS: France's raunchiest TV commercials of all time
Sexism at the wheel: France wants more women drivers
Society
Lifestyle
VIDEO: Is life on a French café terrace really this bad?
Society
Only in France: 'Drive slowly - grape juice on the roads'
Society
Saudi princess 'told guard to kill Paris decorator'
Education
Why are foreign students in France 'Europe's unhappiest'?
Education
The troubles with French universities laid bare
Culture
The crazy French writing phrases you can't get your head around
Features
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
'Stop telling immigrants to be French and help it happen'
Society
Take the test: How far have you assimilated into French culture?
Lifestyle
Eleven things you should know before moving to Paris
National
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
National
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Features
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
Travel
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
Culture
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
Features
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
National
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
2,734
jobs available