The Russian State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian Parliament, could move to approve an amendment which would ban the adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples, “as early as next week.”

The Speaker Sergei Naryshkin, told journalists on Monday that the amendment to enable a ban could take place as early as next week.

“We must take some steps, and we will take them,” he said. “We will amend Russian legislation to ban adoption if the parents are of the same sex. I hope that we will do this as early as next week.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that he will back a ban on foreign same-sex couples from adopting Russian children, but denied it amounts to homophobic discrimination.

Alexei Levchenko, an aide to Deputy Prime Minister for Social Issues Olga Golodets, earlier cited plans for the ban, saying it would only apply to foreign same-sex couples, and would not restrict the rights of single people.

Golodets said last Saturday that laws would be drawn up stating that only heterosexual foreign couples can adopt Russian children, and that marriage rights for same-sex couples was outside of Russia’s heritage.

Two weeks ago, the Russian Children’s Rights Commissioner, Pavel Astakhov, said it is only “logical” to halt adoptions of Russian children by French couples due to the legalisation of same-sex marriage in France.

In the light of France having passed a bill to legalise equal marriage on 18 May, President Putin said he was happy to consider changing agreements to block gay couples from adopting Russian orphans.

In March, President Putin ordered his government to look at introducing measures to ban foreign gay couples from adopting Russian children.