The lower house of Russia’s parliament, the Duma, has overwhelmingly voted to ban adoption not only for foreign gay couples but single foreigners from any country where same sex marriage is legal. The bill was passed by an overwhelming 443 votes to 0. The bill is widely expected to be confirmed in its third reading on June 21, where it will proceed to the upper house and be signed into law by President Putin.
The amendments to Russia's family code say those banned from adoption would include "persons in a marriage union between people of the same sex registered in a state where such a union is allowed, as well as citizens of such states that are not married"."Adoption of this bill de-facto eliminates the chance for foreign persons of so-called non-traditional sexual orientation to adopt Russian children," said one of the bill's authors, Yelena Mizulina, in televised remarks.
The rationale behind this move was explained by the deputy speaker of the Duma Sergei Zheleznyak:
“If a child ends up brought up by a gay couple, the child of course is seriously traumatized and develops a distorted notion of the surrounding reality.”
This latest anti-gay spasm comes hot on the heels of a new law introducing fines of up to $3,000 for individuals who promote "non-traditional relations." These new laws represent a major setback for LGBT and civil rights campaigners. Gay rights activist Nikolai Alekseev expressed his outrage at the law:
"The State Duma is following a trend of the government trying to appeal to the illiterate, who are very homophobic."
The new laws demonstrate the increasingly incestuous of the relationship between government and the Orthodox Church, as chronicledby Contributing Editor Cathy Young in Reason's January issue.
Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, however the Orthodox Church still seeks to prevent further reform to grant equality to homosexuals. In 2012, 40 percent of Russians disagreed with the statement ‘Homosexuals should enjoy the same rights as others in Russia.'
The negative attitudes towards homosexuality are rooted in Russia’s recent history; the Soviet Union criminalized male homosexuality. The penalty for disobeying these laws could be a sentence of up to five years in a hard labor camp.
LGBT activists fear that the increasingly hostile stance of the government and wider society towards homosexuals may have contributed to a rise in the kind of homophobic attacks seen earlier this year.