American distance runner Nick Symmonds dedicated his silver medal win in the 800-meters at the World Championships in Moscow to his gay and lesbian friends.

The 29-year-old Symmonds had earlier pledged not to criticize Russia's controversial anti-gay law while competing.

“As much as I can speak out about it, I believe that all humans deserve equality as however God made them,” Symmonds told R-Sport. “Whether you're gay, straight, black, white, we all deserve the same rights. If there's anything I can do to champion the cause and further it, I will, shy of getting arrested.”

In an August 6 blog post for Runner's World magazine, Symmonds criticized the law – which prohibits the promotion of “gay propaganda” to minors – and vowed he would not discuss it while in Russia.

“I respect Russians' ability to govern their people. I disagree with their laws. I do have respect for this nation. I disagree with their rules.”

Symmonds explained in remarks to CNN why he broke his pledge.

“That really powerful clip that you had of two Russian women kissing in a street and a man coming and shoving them to the ground based on nothing more than they want to express their love for each other. I was just appalled and I couldn't stay silent anymore,” he told CNN. (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)