The Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken steps towards ordering the country’s government and Supreme Court to write amendments to the adoption procedure prohibiting foreign gay couples from adopting Russian children.

The document is likely to be drafted by the Ministry of Education and Science, which takes responsibility for overseeing the adoption of orphaned children, repots Izvestia newspaper.

The ministry said it had not yet received instructions to that effect from the Russian Prime MInister, Dmitry Medvedev.

Children’s rights commissioner Pavel Astakhov recently expressed concern about Russian children being adopted by same-sex couples. He said he would do all he could to avoid Russian orphans being adopted by gay couples.

Equal marriage is currently legal in Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Denmark, The Netherlands, and Argentina, with legislation at various stages in other countries.

The French National Assembly, the lower house of France’s Parliament, recently voted in favour of making same-sex marriage legal.

Last month the Russian children’s rights ombudsman said that allowing French gay couples to adopt Russian orphans would be “unconstitutional”.

France ranks fourth behind the US, Italy and Spain, for highest number of orphans adopted from Russia.

Another law, the Dima Yakovlev, which came into force on 1 January, banned the adoption of Russian children by US citizens.

Back in February, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it was concerned over the fate of an orphaned Russian boy adopted by an American woman in 2007, having learnt that the woman is a lesbian.

The Russian State Duma also recently adopted the first reading of a homophobic censorship bill which would impose federal sanctions for the promotion of “gay propaganda”.

The Russian Prime Minister said that he doesn’t see any reason why homosexuality should be banned legally in the country, and that it is not an big issue for many Russians.