'This Week': Putin on Anti-Gay Laws

George Stephanopoulos interviews Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi about Russia's anti-gay propaganda laws.
3:00 | 01/19/14

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Transcript for 'This Week': Putin on Anti-Gay Laws
-- -- don't have been truly appreciate we are banning anything we are rounding up anyone. We don't prosecute anyone for such relations unlike many other countries. So one can feel relaxed and at ease but please leave the children entities. -- Children in peace that was -- burden on Friday defending the law that -- overshadow these Olympic Games. It -- quote non traditional sexual relationships to minors it's causing a propaganda -- that's causing a global uproar some boycotts. And questions over how rush we'll treat gay athletes and -- next month. When the law passed all summer protests quickly spread. President Obama weighed -- -- nobody is more feminine than me by some of the anti gay and lesbian legislation that you've been seeing him in Russia and one of things I'm really looking forward -- -- -- Maybe some gay and lesbian athletes. Bring an -- gold or silver bronze. And I wonder if you could respond to that and if gay or lesbian athletes engage in some sort of protest. Where rainbow pin or some other kind of protest would they be free from prosecution under the propaganda law. Cockpit but it -- -- of protest and tax of propaganda. Are somewhat different things out there close but if we were to look at them from the legal perspective. -- protesting the law does not amount to propaganda of homosexuality. -- sexual abuse of children. That's ones too is that I'd like to ask our colleagues my colleagues and friends that. As they try to criticize us they would do well to set their own house in order first. I did say after all and this is public knowledge that in some of the states in the US homosexuality. Remains a felony. Supreme Court has struck those -- down and we'll take it -- it must. How are they in a position to criticize us and for what -- -- much softer liberal approach to these issues than in their own country. I know that this isn't something that can be easily done. This is so because there are a lot of folks in the US who share the view that the legislation in their state or in their nation is appropriate the well grounded and is in sync with the sentiment of the vast majority of the population. Brussels gay activists say the climate there is getting -- The gondolas are almost the least of it it's a huge concerted campaign that's unleashed by the -- -- a campaign of hate and violence. So basically it's a law that and try and second class citizenship you know. That the mutual option Anemia -- has nothing to do with persecuting people for their non traditional orientation -- In this country everybody is absolutely equal to anybody else. Irrespective of one's religion sex ethnicity or sexual orientation. Everybody says he can only see some oh concerns exist for people who intend to comments athletes or visitors to the Olympics. But just yesterday this Russian protestor was detained -- -- a rainbow flag during the Olympic Torch relay. -- had no comment about president Obama's decision not to condescension. Appointed protest the president underscored by naming prominent gays and lesbians like Billie Jean King to the US delegation. She spoke to are -- robot. And hopefully it will be a watershed moment and a because of the gay rights. And for the LG BT community. Bringing it to the forefront it is the civil rights issue of the 21 century. So I'm very proud to be openly gay for me personally if -- still. Young enough to be going to the Olympics to perform this would give me such high incentive -- crazed. -- like -- let's go what would you say. To couldn't. To put -- yes please change this law. Because it's inclusive. Champion everyone. Fool's gold medals at the Russian people have their own cultural code their own tradition mean we don't interfere if we don't stick our noses in their life. And we ask that our traditions and culture are treated with the same respect. His position keep sports and politics separate and when pressed -- -- and pushes back. But -- -- -- will that Russia does not criminally prosecute people for being gay unlike each in over 13 of the world's nations. Seventy of the world's nations consider homosexual behavior -- crime seven out of the seventy use capital punishment for homosexuality. But that won't. At the -- what does it mean it doesn't mean we need to cancel any major international sports events in those countries you probably not. Putin's critics fear the real crackdown will come after Sochi. Including proposed legislation threatening to take custody of children away from gay parents. That's -- -- and her partner left Russia -- their children last month. I wouldn't be surprised if if the Olympics went off without a hitch in terms of -- anti terror legislation. Russia doesn't want scandals what -- discipline thing. -- parents so I think that we're not going to see Kenya possibly any incidents. During Olympics. But what happens after the Olympics. Is -- -- -- scary. Act now the -- wanted to David -- -- -- the Davies reporter for many years and from the Soviet Union from Moscow. And you know who clearly he's doing these interviews he wants to reassure people but in some way even -- -- one point off camera was that a lot of gay friends. As well but in some ways he can help himself he actually believes this law. Is the right thing doesn't want to change at any even tied it at some point to the need to increase birth rates. -- -- It's a completely disingenuous answer that he gave -- because this law. Has given the signal for hate crimes all over the country a load loads of hate crimes which are horrible in this videos of it on YouTube all over the place. Second of all it's allowed the it's given the -- to the state media which is this television is the key. To be completely and utterly homophobic. To turn on the television -- Russian orthodox -- members of parliament speaker of the most disgusting homophobic. Way possible. Is completely dispiriting highly influential. And completely sanctioned by the Kremlin so he's you know one answer is what he says to. Broadcasters right in the edge of the Olympics and there are some clemency as they came out as well. But this -- had an enormous effect hard to believe that I -- you name them that he'll actually go through with punishing people during. You wouldn't -- campus that. Yes and can I just say. I'm so sick of sports and politics -- -- -- someone can't that I am. Not gay and I know many internal for the death. And all my gay friends think changed -- looks so buck and his shirtless. -- didn't think -- why is even talking about this. He has to talk about it it's a huge -- I was involved unsuccessfully in the latest race. Contest championed nationally because I can't think -- I'm gonna Sherry had -- no country is that we're gonna get -- with the gang. That has any thing close to any kind of gay laws anything like that this is just didn't doesn't want these things where. History is going to move out. They're not gonna deal with this again and so anybody can watch it if they got somebody's dialogue -- that they're gonna have to clean him up because they've done by the committee before they want this is going unnoticed because his painful for these guys don't do you really think we see -- from from from this is the fears over the terrorist threat. As well and is some of the companies just about every major life and. Here's an air strike -- yes -- and that of course is the great issue that will overwhelm. What we have been talking about I think -- He is the head. They they country -- empire in a way that is going to be seeing more and more of the sort of thing it saw recently in the former Stalingrad the the northern caucuses. And didn't emanated terrorism I just think it's going to be a problem for a long time in a real strange for him for a long time. Satisfying various as sports and politics didn't she -- -- expect to see protests. I think it will be protest. And I was that he was the former California governor who wants a steady -- in the morning to read the sports pages first because they told remains accomplishment. Rather that is this is -- -- And now if it get that seems to -- state media the ultimate irony here it is dead -- that games that are supposed to be about all the things that we. That we love and cherish what it means to be human being. -- -- tarnished by. This talk about gay rights and did that that the threat of terrorism and I think you're right. An ingredient you give him that he's concerned as he should be if people aren't going to show up because they're afraid of what might happen anyway. Against take place in the world and when Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in 1968. Who took place in the world and it had an effect and this argument it's a legitimate argument to have. Because the focus is on -- I think it's all for the better and has the last word think you ought to have that discussion today. And now we honor our fellow Americans who serve and sacrifice. This week. The Pentagon released the names of four soldiers killed in Afghanistan. And that is -- for us today thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us check -- world -- -- -- tonight. I'll see tomorrow in June.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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