Russian lawmaker proposes measures to remove children from gay parents

Having a “nontraditional sexual orientation" would be basis for denying custody

Despite ongoing global outcry against the enactment of a number of anti-gay laws in Russia, another lawmaker has now introduced amendments to the Family Code that would deny gay parents custody of their own children, Pink News reports.

If passed by Russia’s Duma, the changes proposed by State Duma deputy Alexei Zhuravlev, would make so-called “non traditional sexual orientation” a valid basis for depriving gay people of their of parental rights. Other grounds for denying parental custody include alcoholism, drug use, and abuse.

“If one of the child’s parents indulges in sexual contact with persons of the same sex, the damage to the child’s psyche is immense as a mother or father serves as an example for their offspring,” Russia’s RT News quotes Zhuravlev as saying.

Russian president Vladimir Putin already signed off on legislation that prohibits gay couples in foreign countries from adopting Russian children, as well as a measure that bans promotion of “nontraditional sexual relations” among minors.

This news also follows president Vladimir Putin’s statements on Channel One that Russia doesn’t have “any laws pointed against persons with a non-traditional sexual orientation here in Russia.”

Putin has even said he might be open to a meeting with LGBT activists if there is interest from the community, as American president Barack Obama has also indicated he would while at the G20 summit in St Petersburg this week.

British prime minister David Cameron has reportedly also committed to raise concerns about Russia’s anti-gay policies with Putin while at the conference.

Like other political figures, including St Petersburg lawmaker Vitaly Milonov, Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko, and deputy prime minister Dmitry Kozak, Putin has dismissed the outcry against the measures, saying there’s “no need to make a mountain out of a molehill” and that nothing terrible is happening in the country.”

Another Russian MP Mikhail Degtyarev, a Moscow mayoral candidate, also recently floated the idea of reinstating a ban on blood and organ donations by gay men, while offering them free consultations with mental health professionals to help them “return to normal life and become heterosexuals, as are 95 to 99 percent of our citizens.”

The increasing crackdown on Russia’s LGBT community in the leadup to the Sochi Winter Games has sparked unrelenting calls for a boycott of the Games, or their removal to a more LGBT-friendly country.


Natasha Barsotti is originally from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. She had high aspirations of representing her country in Olympic Games sprint events, but after a while the firing of the starting gun proved too much for her nerves. So she went off to university instead. Her first professional love has always been journalism. After pursuing a Master of Journalism at UBC , she began freelancing at Xtra West — now Xtra Vancouver — in 2006, becoming a full-time reporter there in 2008.

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