The Russian government has defended an anti-gay law in a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Russia's “gay propaganda” law prohibits the positive portrayal of gay men and lesbian in a public venue where minors might be present. Its has provoked calls for a boycott of next year's Winter Olympics to be held in Sochi.

In his letter to the IOC, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak gave assurances that Russia will comply fully with a provision in the Olympic Charter against discrimination, the AP reported.

“The Russian Federation guarantees the fulfillment of its obligations before the International Olympic Committee in its entirety,” Kozak wrote.

However, Kozak went on to defend the law.

The law centers on the “restriction of information that promotes non-traditional sexual orientations among children.”

“These legislations apply equally to all persons, irrespective of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation, and cannot be regarded as discrimination based on sexual orientation,” he said.

“These requirements do not attract any limitations for participants and spectators of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi on their legal right of residence in the territory of the Russian Federation or participation in any events stipulated in the Games program that are contradictory to the Olympic Charter or universally recognized standards of international law on human rights,” he added.

The letter was addressed to Jean Claude-Killy, head of the coordination commission for the Sochi Games.