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Now Russia Extends Anti-Gay Law to Cover Some Straight Couples

MOSCOW -- Russia has banned adoptions by single people and unwed couples from countries where same-sex marriage is legal, regardless of whether the applicants are gay or not.

Signed into law by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday, the move is a technical amendment to legislation passed in mid-2013 which banned same-sex couples from adoption.

The decree states that Russia wants to safeguard adopted children “from possible unwanted influence such as artificial forcing of non-traditional sexual behavior and the suffering, complexes and stresses that, according to psychologists’ studies, are often experienced by kids raised in same-sex families.”

The new legislation comes as the Sochi Winter Olympics has put a spotlight on controversy over anti-gay laws passed under President Vladimir Putin.

Russia passed laws last year criminalizing the promotion of gay "propaganda" to minors. Human-rights organizations have described a pattern of oppression of Russian gays and lesbians, including videotaped beatings.

The country has also imposed a ban on adoptions by American couples and non-governmental organizations in 2012 in what was widely seen as retaliation for new U.S. legislation meant to punish Russian human-rights abusers.

Signing that bill into law, Putin said U.S. authorities routinely let Americans suspected of violence toward Russian adoptees go unpunished.

It was a clear reference to Dima Yakovlev, a Russian toddler for whom the bill is named. The child was adopted by Americans and then died in 2008 after his father left him in a hot car for hours. The father was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter, which caused a wave of outrage in Russia.

Henry Austin reported from London.