US runner Nick Symmonds became the first international athlete to denounce Russia's law against "gay propaganda" on the country's soil after winning a medal at the world athletics championships in Moscow.
Symmonds dedicated his silver medal in the 800m on Tuesday to his gay and lesbian friends at home and called for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, news agencies reported.
"As much as I can speak out about it, I believe that all humans deserve equality however God made them," Symmonds said after the race at Luzhniki stadium.
"Whether you're gay, straight, black, white, we all deserve the same rights. If there's anything I can do to champion the cause and further it I will, shy of getting arrested.
"I respect Russians' ability to govern their people. I disagree with their laws."
In an article for Runner's World this month, Symmonds criticised the law passed in June banning the propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors, but said he would not discuss the subject in Russia.