Putin: Gays Are Fine—If They Steer Clear of Kids
Russian president seeks to reassure, as best he can
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Suggested by jgmann
Posted Jan 17, 2014 3:25 PM CST
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at his meeting with Olympic volunteers in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Friday.   (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)

(Newser) – He was apparently trying to be magnanimous toward gay people, but it didn't quite come out that way. Asked today about Russia's views toward homosexuals, Putin said those in his country should "feel calm and at ease," reports the Washington Post. And then he added, "Just leave kids alone, please." In elaborating, the Russian president seemed to equate homosexuality with pedophilia, reports AP.

"We have no ban on nontraditional sexual relations," he said. "We have a ban on propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia, I want to underline that, on propaganda among minors." That "propaganda" rule is causing lots of friction before next month's Olympic games in Sochi, with President Obama opting to skip and send gay delegates instead.