Russian parliament moves to legalise ban on same-sex marriages
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Russian parliament moves to legalise ban on same-sex marriages

Credit: Pxfuel

A new law that will ban marriage and adoptions for LGBTQ+-people in Russia will soon be implemented by the Russian parliament, following the people’s vote on the 2020 amendments to the Russian Constitution.

The amendments were approved by nearly 78% of Russian voters at the start of this month. In Russia, homosexuality (behind closed doors) was officially decriminalised in 1993, and declassified as a mental illness in 1999.

This new proposal has been said to aim for ‘family protection’.

The draft bill for the ban, introduced by seven senators, will amend Russia’s Family Code and “define marriage as a union between a man and a woman,”  according to the Moscow Times.

“The bill stops the practice of marriage between persons of the same sex, including those who have changed their sex, and respectively, adoption by such couples of children,” member of Parliament and head of the Committee for Family, Women and Children, Yelena Mizulina, stated to the Russian press. The draft introduced by the senate to the lower house, the State Duma, makes no direct reference to transgender persons.

“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,” the introduction to the bill reads.

Due to a loophole, the state of Russia does recognise marriages that were validated abroad, including same-sex marriages, as long as both persons are unrelated and not married at the time of the ceremony.

Putin has long aligned himself with the visions of the Orthodox church, which is generally not in favour of same-sex marriage. In 2013, the president started banning gay pride parades under the ‘gay propaganda’ law, which would prevent “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” from reaching minors and put offenders at risk of a three-year jail sentence for “offending religious feelings.”

In previous years, there have been a handful of instances where the Russian government recognised same-sex marriage likely unintentionally. Last June, Russian gay rights activist Igor Kochetkov said that he received a federal tax return based on his husband’s income, which would officially mean that the government acknowledges the marriage. Under the new laws, accidental recognitions like these will likely fade.

Amée Zoutberg
The Brussels Times