Vladimir Putin — Photo: Presidential Executive Office of Russia
Vladimir Putin has ruled out allowing same-sex marriage to be legalized in Russia while he remains the country’s president.
According to Reuters, Putin clarified his opposition to same-sex marriage during a meeting to discuss amendments to Russia’s constitution.
“As far as ‘parent number 1’ and ‘parent number 2’ goes, I’ve already spoken publicly about this and I’ll repeat it again: As long as I’m president this will not happen. There will be dad and mum,” Putin said.
During the meeting, a proposal was made to amend Russia’s constitution to include that marriage is between one man and one woman.
“We need only to think in what phrases and where to do this,” Putin responded.
During Putin’s almost eight years as president, Russia has become increasingly intolerant of LGBTQ people.
In 2013, a year after Putin assumed control of the presidency, Russia passed a law banning “gay propaganda.”
Under the law, people are prohibited from disseminating information that portrays homosexuality in a positive light.
The ban is specifically geared toward stopping the “promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships among minors” or the equating of “traditional and non-traditional sexual relationships.”
It has led to various homophobic actions in Russia, from the ridiculous to the extreme, including LGBTQ people being warned not to “publicly display sexuality” at the 2018 Russian World Cup, deleting every depiction of gay relationships from Elton John biopic Rocketman, or a Russian politician who claimed that a naked statue on a Russian banknote was ‘gay propaganda.’
In 2017, the European Court of Human Rights called the law discriminatory, and ordered Russia to compensate three LGBTQ activists who sued over the law.
The court said that the 2013 law “had reinforced stigma and prejudice and encouraged homophobia, which was incompatible with the values of a democratic society.”
In 2018, a teenager was found guilty of violating the law after publishing pictures of partially nude men on Russian social network VKontakte — though a Russian LGBTQ organization speculated that the teen had been targeted after taking part in a protest against the Kremlin’s role in persecuting LGBTQ people.
Last year, the government threatened to use the ban to remove a same-sex couple’s children, accusing them of violating the ban by “promoting non-traditional relationships, giving the children distorted perceptions about family values and harming their health and their moral and spiritual development.” The fathers opted to flee the country, rather than risk having their two sons removed by authorities.
The Russian government — and, by extension, Putin — have also been accused of downplaying or ignoring the arrests, detentions, and torture of LGBTQ people in the Russian republic of Chechnya.
More than 100 gay men in Chechnya were arrested and detained against their will without trial, with survivors reporting they had been tortured and seen compatriots killed while in prison. Those detentions, arrests, and alleged killings occurred at intervals on a continuing basis during the spring and summer of 2017.
Despite calls from LGBTQ activists and from European and international leaders for an investigation into the alleged killings, Russian authorities claimed that a state investigation failed to find evidence supporting survivors’ claims of torture and abuse.
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