Russia's sports minister Vitaly Mutko said Thursday that athletes and spectators attending the Olympics will face fines, arrest and deportation if they violate the country's so-called gay "propaganda" law.
But the country doubled back Friday, citing the goal of safety and tolerance at the Games.
"The Olympic Games is a major international event. We need to be as polite and tolerant as possible. That is why a decision has been made not to raise this issue during the Olympics," Igor Ananskikh, deputy chairman of the State Duma's Physical Culture, Sport and Youth Policy Committee, told Interfax.
Even some international pop stars have fallen under scrutiny for their ardent support of gay rights in Russia.
Both Lady Gaga and Madonna are facing punishment in Russia after authorities determined they violated their visas when they held concerts there in 2012.
Technically, the artists were not allowed to work in Russia on their tourist visas, but experts say it appears the visa warning is a veiled attempt to punish the pop stars for speaking out onstage against St. Petersburg's anti-gay law.
Russia hasn't announced any plans to prosecute the pop stars, but if convicted they could face steep fines or be banned from entering the country.