TODAY   |  January 02, 2014

Outcry over Russian anti-gay laws grows

Six months after Russia outlawed what it calls homosexual propaganda, critics of the law are becoming more vocal as the Olympic Games in Sochi, approach. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reports.

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>> 7:39 on this thursday morning with the growing focus on russia 's controversial anti- gay laws as the winter games in sochi fastly approaches. we will get brian boy titano's take on this.

>> reporter: with the sochi games just 35 days away, both russia and the international olympic committee are feeling the heat . a law passed unanimously in moscow last june, trading demonstrations around the world. it is declared propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations of minors illegal. russia 's president vladmir putin says the ban does not discriminate but defends his country against genderless and infer tile western tolerance. more and more athletes like ashley wagger feel the need to speak out.

>> i think it's horrible the treatment that the lbgt community gets in russia .

>> reporter: russia is a socially conservative country where homosexuals rarely live openly. in sochi , one gay club , but the doors are unmarked. they hope the olympics may hope change perception.

>> i feel russia will become trouble.

>> reporter: already. president obama seems to be sending his own message by choosing not to go himself and assembling a delegation that includes three openly gay athletes.

>> i am going to sochi that has made the most dramatic shift on these issues in the last few years. i am proud to be represent tack diversity.

>> reporter: others accused the olympic committee of not speaking out against a violation of hits own charter.

>> still it's time for the ioc to take a strong and unequivocal stance against the law and make it clear that the russian government is not living up to its commitment as an olympic host .

>> reporter: the ioc says it's not their role to comment on russian law , but the justice minister has given them unspecified assurances that openly gay athletes and foreign visitors will not be discriminated against during the games.