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Cher Turns Down Winter Olympics Appearance Because Of Russia's Anti-Gay Laws

Cher (s_bukley /
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Cher is and always has been a friend to the gay community, and now, she's taken a decided stand on LGBT rights: The singer was asked to perform at the winter Olympics in Russia, and she turned it down based on the country's anti-gay laws.

In Canada's MacLean's, Cher explains what happened:

I can’t name names but my friend called who is a big oligarch over there, and asked me if I’d like to be an ambassador for the Olympics and open the show. I immediately said no. I want to know why all of this gay hate just exploded over there. He said the Russian people don’t feel the way the government does.

The 67-year-old was referring to a law that was passed back in June. According to Policymic, the law prohibits "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations":

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The law imposes significant fines of up to $31,000 for providing information about the LGBT community to minors, holding gay pride events, speaking in defense of gay rights, or equating gay and heterosexual relationships. In a truly egalitarian and internationalist spirit, the bill applies to Russians and foreigners alike, as well as media organizations.

In the MacLean's interview, Cher goes on to explain that she relates to the struggles that gays face in part because she and Sonny were treated poorly because they "looked and acted so different. Sonny was always getting into fights—people would called him 'fag.'”

Cher's son, Chaz Bono, is also transgender. She has been outspoken in supporting Chaz, particularly when he made an appearance on "Dancing With The Stars."