President Obama stopped by The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Tuesday night, where he said he expected Russia to treat gay and lesbian athletes equally at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
The discussion sparked from Leno asking about the treatment the LGBT community in Russia is being subjected to, particularly with the country’s recent anti-gay lesiglation in place. The law bans “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations around minors,” the promotion of gay rights events and same-sex couples displaying their affections in public.
Although the law was signed by Russian president Vladmir Putin, the International Olympic Committee has said that Olympic athletes and attendees at the 2014 Sochi Games in Russia will not be affected by the new law.
Leno asked the president what affects Russia’s new laws would have on the upcoming Olympics.
“I think Putin and Russia have a big stake in making sure the Olympics work,” Obama responded. “If Russia wants to uphold the Olympic spirit then every judgement should be made on the track, or in the swimming pool, or on the balance beam, and people’s sexual orientation shouldn’t have anything to do with it.”
Obama canceled a planned meeting with Putin in Moscow Wednesday morning.