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Jan 22, 2014 1:07 PM by AP (PHOTO COURTESY: MGN ONLINE)

Elton John challenges new Russian anti-gay law

NEW YORK (AP) - Entertainer-songwriter Elton John is declaring his support of the Russian people, and he says they still accept him despite that country's harsh new anti-gay law.

Passed last year, the so-called "gay propaganda" law bans promotion of "non-traditional sexual relations" to minors.

John said Wednesday that he visited Russia in December concerned that the new law would affect how he was treated as "an openly gay foreigner." He says he received a warm welcome.

But if foreign visitors are unaffected by the law, John says it has legitimized "vicious homophobia" against gay Russians.

John calls the legislation "deeply dangerous" to the gay and lesbian community, and "deeply divisive" to Russian society.

He volunteered to introduce Russian President Vladimir Putin to gay Russians to help promote understanding.

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