IKEA has said that Russia's anti-gay law prevented it from including a lesbian story in its Russian edition of IKEA Family Live magazine.

The story, which appeared in 24 countries, explains how IKEA helped UK couple Clara and Kirsty and their one-year-old son Isaac redecorate their small loft space.

“We're two mums bringing up our baby boy in Clara's mum's loft,” Kirsty said in the piece. “We're not your average family in your average home, but if my nan can raise two sons in a tiny caravan, we can make it work in our little loft.”

More than 45,500 people signed a Change.org petition asking IKEA to “please don't erase LGBT families.”

In response to the petition, IKEA said that “it is a law that has been widely criticized but one that we have to comply with.”

“We want the way we communicate our offer in different commercial channels to mirror the world around us and we believe that publishing an article featuring a lesbian couple in 24 countries is a good example of that. In some of these countries the subject is still considered to be controversial,” the company added. “In the long term, we believe that we can have a positive influence on societies in the countries where we operate by constantly working based on our values.”

Gay rights activists in Russia called on IKEA to speak out against the law.

“Companies doing business in Russia simply can't remain silent anymore when it comes to the human rights violations of LGBT Russians,” said Yelena Goltsman, founder and co-president of RUSA LGBT. “It's time for IKEA to do the right thing, stand by their corporate values of equality, and stand with LGBT Russians.”