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Russia begins process to ban same-sex marriage and adoptions as Putin cements his power for decades to come

Emma Powys Maurice July 15, 2020
Russia

A slew of constitutional amendments has banned same-sex marriage in Russia and granted Putin power until 2036 (Getty)

All hopes of same-sex marriage in Russia have been crushed as lawmakers push forward with a package of constitutional amendments that could prolong Putin’s power until he’s 84.

Russia does not currently register same-sex marriages, but until now it had recognised marriages registered abroad as long as they weren’t between close relatives.

That’s set to change as a draft bill submitted by seven senators late on Tuesday (14 July) will amend Russia’s Family Code and legally ban same-sex marriage and adoptions, including those by transgender people.

“The bill ends the practice of marriage between persons of the same sex, including those who changed genders,” its co-author, senator Yelena Mizulina, told Interfax.

The text of the bill states that it must be adopted “due to changes in public life, including the public demand to preserve traditional family values and strengthen and protect family institutions”.

It continues: “It is no secret that the modern family faces many challenges that threaten its well-being and integrity. The package of draft laws is… aimed at protecting against the threat of destruction, especially of families with minor children and thereby strengthening it.”

The move comes two weeks after a referendum in which voters overwhelmingly approved a set of constitutional amendments that included a provision defining marriage solely as a “union between a man and a woman”.

Vladimir Putin was behind the controversial “gay propaganda” law of 2013. (ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty)

Another amendment agreed to reset Vladimir Putin’s term limits, paving the way for him to rule as president until 2036. His spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, called the vote “a triumphal referendum on confidence in president Putin”.

But foreign commentators have noted that the vote was nothing more than an “elaborate spectacle” of public affirmation as Putin already had the necessary approval from parliament, regional governments, and the courts.

In fact, not only had the constitutional amendments already been enacted, the newly-amended constitution had actually been printed and sent to bookstores for sale – before the vote even happened.

‘President for life’ Putin spells disaster for LGBT+ people in Russia.

Putin has held power over Russia in various forms since 1999, commanding an appalling wave of anti-LGBT+ persecution over the course of his extended presidency.

In 2012, the Moscow city government ordered that Pride parades be banned for the next 100 years. The following year, the parliament unanimously passed a law forbidding “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships” among minors.

The controversial law bans any positive depiction of LGBT+ people and anyone found guilty of sharing such information with minors can be sentenced to heavy fines or up to 15 years in prison.

Perhaps the most horrifying example of LGBT+ persecution is Chechnya’s ‘gay purge’ which has seen LGBT+ people imprisoned, beaten, tortured and killed in gay concentration camps.

Local authorities deny the crackdown ever happened – “We don’t have any gays,” said Chechen autocrat leader Ramzan Kadyrov – despite countless refugee reports detailing the violent abuses they have suffered.

Unsurprisingly, Kadyrov has been among the strongest supporters of Putin’s permanent power grab.

“I always said we should have a president-for-life,” the Guardian reported him saying on Tuesday. “Who can replace him? There’s no political leader of international standing. We should be proud of this.”

More: Chechen gay purge, gay propaganda law, Ramzan Kadyrov, Russia, same sex marriage, Vladimir Putin

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