The Russian Parliament has voted in favor of a National Referendum that includes legalizing a ban on same-sex marriage by defining marriage solely as a “union between a man and a woman.” The lawmakers in Russia have approved this draft bill which will amend Russia’s Family Code.
The Russian Referendum was passed with an overwhelming voters’ approval which effectively bans same-sex marriages as well as adoption by such couples. The restrictions of marriage and the adoption of this draft extend to transgender people also. The ratification of this de facto ban will complicate any attempts to legalize same-sex marriage in the future by an eventual successor.
It also included over 200 constitutional changes, including one provision that will allow President Vladimir Putin to serve for an additional two consecutive terms in the office, up-to the year 2036.
The text of the bill in context to the ban of same-sex marriage and adoption reads: “The bill must be adopted due to changes in public life, including the public demand to preserve traditional family values and strengthen and protect family institutions”. As per the text, the bill aims to protect and strengthen the challenges that threaten the well-being and integrity of modern families – especially families of minor children.
Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, is likely to approve the draft legislation swiftly.
President Vladimir Putin has expressed his disapproval of same-sex marriages and has openly said he won’t legalize gay marriages as long as he is in the parliament. Putin aligns himself with his supporter – the Russian Orthodox church and seeks to distance Russia from the ‘decadent Western values including liberal attitudes toward homosexuality and gender fluidity’.
“As far as ‘Parent No 1’ and ‘Parent No 2’ goes, I’ve already spoken publicly about this and I’ll repeat it again: as long as I’m president this will not happen. There will be Dad and Mum,” Putin said, reported Reuters.
Notably, the amendment doesn’t explicitly change the existing laws in Russia. Russia’s Family Code currently recognizes marriages that are registered abroad between partners who are not close relatives or those who are not already registered in a civil marriage.
LGBTQ+ community of Russia endures social and political oppression, homophobia, and transphobia from decades. According to the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Survey in 2019, 74 percent of Russians said homosexuality should not be accepted by society, while only 14 percent said it should be.
In 2013, Putin signed into effect a ‘gay propaganda’ rule that bans “non-traditional” sexual orientation to minors. Moscow city government banned Pride Parades for the next 100 years in 2012. In 2018, the country banned Pride events and in 2019, it further blocked the official registering of LGBTQ+ groups in Russia.
President of the Human Rights Campaign, Alphonso David, voiced his opinion against the gay marriage ban and said Putin is a “threat to the human rights of all.” “Russia is tripling down on its attacks on the basic human rights and dignity of LGBTQ people by adding constitutional prohibitions against marriage equality,” he said.
Many LGBTQ+ activists came together to protest Putin’s draft legislation, of which 142 people were detained by the police.
Feature Image Via Canva