'Italy No to anti-gay laws at Sochi' says Letta
PM will reaffirm Italian position at Games' opening ceremony03 February, 12:58
Moscow passed a law restricting the activities of gay activists seven months ago, sparking an international outcry.
President Vladimir Putin has tried to defuse the protests by claiming the law was not as anti-gay as depicted and easing a ban on protests in Sochi.
A host of celebrities have joined the protest, including Sir Elton John who said he would "show Putin Russia's gay community".
On Friday a coalition of 40 human-rights and gay-rights groups from the US, Western Europe and Russia - including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Human Rights Campaign - released an open letter to the 10 biggest Olympic sponsors, urging them to denounce the law and run ads promoting equality for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.
The law, signed by Putin in July, bans pro-gay "propaganda" that could be accessible to minors - a measure viewed by activists as forbidding almost any public expression of gay-rights sentiment.
The law cleared parliament virtually unopposed and has broad public support in Russia.