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If Berlusconi were gay, "nobody would dare touch him"

Published September 21, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

By Joshua Keating

Slate

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis may have made headlines Thursday with surprisingly open-minded comments about homosexuality, but another world leader has gone in the opposite direction.

Here's what Vladimir Putin had to say today about his friend Silvio Berlusconi, who is currently appealing a conviction for having sex with an underage prostitute, as reported by Agence France Presse Thursday:

"Berlusconi is on trial for living with women, but if he were a homosexual, nobody would dare touch him," Putin said during a discussion with international experts and journalists at the Valdai Club in the northwestern Novgorod region.

The comment mirrors Berlusconi's own defense of his actions in 2010, when he said, "If occasionally I happen to look a beautiful girl in the face, it's better to like beautiful girls than to be gay."

At the same conference, Putin denied that gays face discrimination in Russia and suggested that European countries reconsider their laws allowing gay marriage since "the Europeans are dying out ... and gay marriages don't produce children."