Aug. 9 - U.S. President Barack Obama says he would like to see gay and lesbian athletes win medals at the Olympics but rejected calls to boycott Sochi over Russia's new laws against ''gay propaganda.'' Deborah Gembara reports.
A new Russian law banning "gay propaganda," is earning condemnation far beyond Moscow. SOUNDBITE: President Barack Obama saying: "Nobody is more offended than me by some of the anti-gay and lesbian legislation that you've been seeing in Russia" In Belgium, protesters staged a "kiss-in" outside of the Russian consulate. SOUNDBITE: PROTESTER CO-ORGANIZER, MARCIA POELMAN, SAYING: "Well, I think that the law is so vaguely formulated that you can use the law to criminalize every expression of being gay or lesbian. Some have even gone as far as to call for a boycott of the Winter Olympics which Russia is hosting in Sochi next year. In Washington, President Obama added his voice to the growing number of critics. SOUNDBITE: PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "Just this week I've spoken out against that, not just with respect to Russia, but a number of other countries where we continue to do work with them but we have a strong disagreement on this issue. He stopped short of calling for the U.S. to sit out the games. SOUNDBITE: PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "I do not think it's appropriate to boycott the Olympics. We've got a bunch of Americans out there who are training hard, doing everything they can to succeed...I'm really looking forward to is maybe a number of gay and lesbian athletes bring back the gold, or silver, or bronze, which I think would go a long way in rejecting a lot of the attitudes we're seeing there." Yury Gavrikov, a gay activist from Russia say he hopes the attention from western power will be give Moscow pause. SOUNDBITE: Yury Gavrikov saying: Now, officials like President Putin, they don't want to have the same freedoms in our country because they said Russians are not ready for it. But when they will be ready? In 10 years, in 15 years? In 100 years? We need it now. We need love now. We need our families now.