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Russian MP withdraws bill to deprive gay and lesbian couples of parenting rights

Aaron Day October 20, 2013
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The Russian lawmaker who last month introduced new anti-gay legislation to strip gay couples of parental rights has now withdrawn the bill from the Russian Duma, saying he plans to resubmit a revised version at a later date.

MP Alexei Zhuravlyov last month proposed a bill which would deny gay parents custody over their own children. If passed it would make “non traditional sexual orientation” a basis for the deprivation of parental rights. It places same-sex sexual orientation in the same category as alcohol and drug abuse.

On Saturday, spokesperson Sofia Cherepanova told Russian media on Mr Zhuravlyov’s behalf the document has now been withdrawn from the Russian Duma, RIA Novosti reports.

She said: “Yes he has indeed withdrawn it,” although his position on the matter “remains unchanged.”

“Anyway, we are interested in passing the bill,” she added, and clarified that the document is set to be revised and would again be submitted at a later date.

If passed the law would follow on from a piece of legislation signed into law by President Putin in July that banned gay and lesbian couples from foreign countries from adopting children.

When asked why he chose to introduce the legislation during an interview with Slon last month, Zhuravlyov said he had travelled around Russia, including his home city of Voronezh, and noted the case of a man “with a great deal of influence”, who was given custody of his children after he came out as gay.

“It occurred to me that since we have a law explicitly prohibiting the promotion of homosexuality among minors, the Family Code should be amended in such a way that that if a husband or a wife professes a non-traditional sexual orientation, they should be deprived of their parental rights. The purpose of this would be to restrict the influence of such a person on his or her own children.”

When asked how it is possible to prove that someone is gay, he conceded that it is difficult if they do not admit it.

Challenged on whether Russia should leave the EU as more laws limiting the freedom of LGBT people are being introduced, he said: “We view Europe as Sodom and Gomorrah. Europe must not tell us how to live. The Europeans can live any way they like, but they mustn’t tell us what to do. If negotiations about a visa-free space mean that our streets should have gay parades marching around, I am categorically against international relations of that kind and shall speak out against them.”

He concluded saying he was sure he would find support in the Duma for his bill.

More: anti-gay laws, David Cameron, Europe, G20, Moscow, putin, Russia, Russia, sochi olympics, Sochi Winter Olympics, Sochi Winter Olympics 2014, St Petersburg, Stephen Fry, Vladimir Putin, Winter Olympics, Winter Olympics 2014

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