Scoop: Elton John promotes gay understanding in Russia

With the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, just two weeks away, Elton John has declared his support of the Russian people — but still has trouble with a harsh new anti-gay law in the country.

Passed last year, the so-called “gay propaganda” law bans promotion of “nontraditional sexual relations” to minors.

On Wednesday, John told The Associated Press that when he visited Russia in December, he received a warm welcome, even though he was concerned how, as an openly gay foreigner, he would be treated.

But on his website, he says, “It is a very different story for those living inside the country.”

Calling the law “deeply dangerous” to the gay and lesbian community and “deeply divisive” to Russian society, he says it has legitimized “vicious homophobia.”

The entertainer, whose AIDS foundation has given some $2 million to programs in Russia, volunteered to introduce Russian President Vladimir Putin to gay Russians to help promote understanding.

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