Singer Sir Elton John on Wednesday
criticized Russia's ban on “gay propaganda” to minors.
The 66-year-old John released his
500-word statement a month after he performed in Russia.
“What I heard reinforced all the
media stories that have been circling since the propaganda bill
became federal law: that vicious homophobia has been legitimized by
this legislation and given extremists the cover to abuse people's
basic human rights.”
John met with members of the gay
community while in Russia.
“Everyone shared stories of verbal
and physical abuse – at work, in bars and restaurants or in the
street – since the legislation came into force last June.”
Putin has defended the law in recent
days as Russia prepares to host the Winter Olympics in Sochi next
month. He cited John's popularity as evidence that Russia does not
discriminate against gays.
“Millions of our people sincerely
love him despite his orientation,” Putin said Sunday.