by Staff Reporter
June 4, 2013 (TSR) – Russian President Vladimir Putin will ban foreign homosexual couples from adopting Russian children, the government has confirmed, reported by British Daily Mail.
An amendment restricting foreign adoptions to ‘traditional’ families will be submitted to parliament in its autumn session by the government, Alexei Levchenko, a spokesman for Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets, said on Saturday.
The ban underscores a growing rift between Russia and the West over gay rights.
Putin said in April that a French law allowing same-sex marriage went against traditional Russian values and signalled Moscow would take steps to ensure gay couples from abroad did not adopt Russian orphans.
Russian legislation sets several requirements for adoptive parents from abroad such as sufficient income and a clean criminal record. But it does not mention sexual orientation or address the issue of same-sex couples.
Putin has frequently championed socially conservative values and courted the conservative Russian Orthodox Church during a new term he started in May 2012, after a series of large street protests by mostly liberal Russians in big cities.
Homosexuality, punished with jail terms in the Soviet Union, was decriminalised in Russia in 1993, but prejudice runs deep. There are no laws protecting against discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
In June 2012, Moscow courts enacted a hundred-year ban on gay pride parades.
The secretary-general of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, a Norwegian politician for the Labour Party and also the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee (since 2009), responsible for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize, demanded that Russia, as a signatory, must allow LGBT rallies and that it should protect the rights of citizens wishing to hold public rallies.
A poll by the independent Levada Center found that 38 per cent of Russians believe gay people need medical treatment and another 13 per cent said they should face prosecution.
A March poll found that 85 per cent opposed same-sex marriage.
Putin says Russia does not discriminate, but he has criticised gay people for not adding to Russia’s population and the ruling United Russia party is backing legislation activists say will amount to a prohibition on public support for gay rights.
Western governments have criticised the legislation and Putin faced protests by supporters of gay rights on a visit in April to the Netherlands, the first country to allow same-sex marriage.
Russian gay rights activists say Putin’s statements and the legislation encourage discrimination against homosexuals.
The brutal killing last month of a man investigators said had told drinking partners he was gay has fuelled fears of more violence.
The murder has been noted by gay rights activists, who have said that it signals a rise in the numbers of violent attacks against gay people, and that an anti-gay “propaganda” bill currently in the Russian Duma, and which is backed by President Vladimir Putin, is adding to the anti-gay atmosphere.
Rights campaigners say Russian orphanages are rife with criminal violations, including sexual abuse.
But Olga Batalina, a lawmaker with the ruling United Russia party, said last week that adoption by same-sex families should not be an option.
Russia banned all adoptions by Americans this year in a dispute with the United States over human rights.
About 60,000 children have been adopted by Americans in the past two decades, and many Russians disagree with the ban, seeing it as a politically driven move depriving children of a chance to have a family.
Last month, a Russian report commissioned by Putin’s government found so-called ‘psychological damage’ suffered by a boy who was adopted by two gay women in the U.S.
Russian authorities accused Marcia Ann Brandt of deliberately deceiving them when she adopted Yegor Shabatalov from an orphanage in Siberia in 2007 when he was five years old.