- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed that despite his recently signed ban against gays promoting their sexuality to minors, he would welcome gays to Sochi for the Winter Olympics and preserve their rights for equal treatment.

“We will do everything … so that both the participants and guests feel comfortable in Sochi, regardless of ethnicity, racial heritage or sexual orientation,” Mr. Putin said Monday at a meeting with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, United Press International reported.

The games kick off Feb. 7.

This isn’t his first promise to gays. He said in a separate statement that there would not be any “discrimination against people on any basis whatsoever” at Sochi, UPI said. At the same time, some wonder about Mr. Putin’s commitment to upholding that pledge.

Russia’s Interior Ministry — the overseer of the nation’s police — already has started to enforce the new ban on gays promoting gayness to minors, Russian news reported.

Mr. Bach cautioned that he didn’t want the Olympics to “be a marketplace for demonstrations for all potential issues in the world, even if they are the best ones.”