JAY LENO: Something that shocked me about Russia. I'm surprised this is not a huge story. Suddenly homosexuality is against the law. I mean, this seems like Germany with let's round up the Jews. Let's round up the gays. It starts with that. You round up people who you don't like. I mean, why is not more of the world outraged at this?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I have been very clear that when it comes to universal rights, when it comes to people's basic freedoms, that whether you're discriminating on the basis of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation you are violating the basic morality that I think should transcend every country, and I have no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.
In Part B I will briefly detail the law as best I can so you can make up your own mind about how "horrific" or "draconian" it is or actually isn't for yourself.
A few days after the words at left were uttered it became a "huge story". The world athletics championships were being held in Moscow, you see. Valerie Adams had already won her gold and all was well with the world.
But then two Swedish athletes who did not set the world on fire with their performance in the field drew attention to themselves with rainbow colored nail polish, to protest "that law".
And Stephen Fry called for a boycott of the Sochi Winter Olympics next year, he even got to meet with David Cameron.
The extraordinary ‘gay rights pub summit’ between the actor and the Prime Minister on Monday evening came days after Mr Fry had written an open letter to No 10. He claimed that Russia’s President Putin was making scapegoats of gay people, just as Hitler did with the Jews. Mr Fry had made no attempt to conceal his lifelong disdain for the Tories, although he praised the Prime Minister’s stance on gay rights in the UK.
And a Russian world champion was asked her opinion of the Swedish girls protest and the law they were protesting and when she gave response all hell broke loose around her
And then great excitement over two more Russian female champions when a photo of their congratulatory kiss was spun as Lesbianism and/or a protest when, of course, it was neither
The law causing all this angst is titled in Russian: "О защите детей от информации, причиняющей вред их здоровью и развитию"
or in English: "On Protection of children from information harmful to their health and development". So far so good but here is where it gets tricky - the information the Russian Duma deem harmful to children's health and development is that pertaining to "non-traditional sexual relationships". Cue outrage.
Whether or not preventing non related adults presenting material on "non-traditional sexual relationships" or promoting them to other people's children is a "violation of human rights" is up for you to decide but parents within the Russian Federation overwhelmingly agree that they don't want these sort of concepts presented to their young it seems and this particular law has the support of 85%+ of Russian citizens.
So what are the penalties under this "horrific" law, I hear you ask? Well an individual may be fined up to $5000 roubles for violating it - in New Zealand's currency about $190 - just a little more than the penalty for not wearing your seat belt while driving and a trifle less than you would receive for not displaying a current warrant of fitness.
For organizers of events that break this law the penalties are steeper, fines up to 50,000 roubles may be imposed - ballpark NZ$2000.
And for corporations the fines can be as high as $1,000,000 roubles, let's say roughly NZ$40,000.
You can of course hold events promoting "non-traditional sexual relationships" in private spaces provided you do not admit those under 18 to them and nobody under 18 is exposed to any materials that may be distributed to those who attend.
Foreigners who break the law may cop the fine, and be sent back to from whence they came being held for up to 15 days in custody before deportation.
There are other aspects to this law relating to broadcasting and so forth but that is the gist of it.
Is this really something worthy of an Olympic boycott? Or is this all just hysterical nonsense?