Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed on Sept. 27 that gay people are not persecuted in his country.
Putin told CBS News' "60 Minutes" that some U.S. states have criminal laws against homosexuality, cited the U.S. Supreme Court and then claimed this "problem was not completely removed from American legislation."
He made a similar false claim in 2014 during an interview with ABC News, and host George Stephanopoulos reminded him of the high court's decision in 2003 (video below).
Putin also told "60 Minutes" that he supported equal rights for LGBT people:
I believe there should not be any criminal prosecution or any other prosecution or infringement of people’s rights on the basis of their race, ethnicity, religious or sexual orientation.
Putin went on to claim that Russia had abolished laws against gay people, and added:
We have no persecution at all. People of non-traditional sexual orientation work, they live in peace, they get promoted, they get state awards for their achievements in science and arts or other areas. I personally have awarded them medals.
However, it's well documented that gay people have been arrested and beat up by police in Russia. In May, LGBT activists were beaten and arrested at Moscow's 10th Gay Pride Parade, noted Vice.com.
Gay activists were arrested by Russian police on the first day of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, reported Al Jazeera America.
Putin did mention Russia's law against gay propaganda, which bans any public promotion of homosexuality and is used to arrest gay people:
I don’t see anything un-democratic in this legal act. I believe we should leave kids in peace. We should give them a chance to grow, help them to realize who they are and decide for themselves.
Do they consider themselves a man or a woman? A female? A male? Do they want to live in a normal, natural marriage or a non-traditional one? That’s the only thing I wanted to talk about. I don’t see here any infringement on the rights of gay people.
I believe this has been a deliberate exaggeration aimed at making an enemy image of Russia for political reasons. This is one of the lines of attack against Russia.
Putin couldn't name who was specifically behind this "attack."
A Pew Research Center poll from 2013 found that 74 percent of Russians oppose societal acceptance of homosexuality.