Thursday, October 10, 2013


Russian parliament committee now scheduled to debate law to strip LGBT parents of custody of their children
By Brody Levesque & Mark Singer | MOSCOW, Russia -- A draft bill- if enacted into law- that would strip same-sex couples or LGBTQ individuals of custody of their children has advanced in the Russian parliament. The bill's language states says that government officials will be able to remove children from homes of parents if they practise "non-traditional sexual relations," the term used in Russian laws to describe LGBTQ relations.
A spokesperson for the Duma confirmed that the debate over the measure, published on the website of Russia's Duma's Lower House of Deputy's, [Parliament] would likely be scheduled for debate in February which would coincide with the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Debate over LGBTQ equality rights in the country and the impending Winter Olympic Games has already been a flash-point with LGBTQ activists and their allies around the globe, spurring boycotts and demonstrations protesting Russia's controversial new "gay propaganda" law, signed in June by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Putin had earlier signed companion legislation that banned the adoption of Russian children by same-sex couples in other nations or by couples from nations who permit same-sex marriage.
The proposed legislative language of the bill, an amendment to the Russian Federal Family Code, also cited other grounds, including alcoholism, drug use, and abuse.
A legislative note on the website in explanation of the parenting bill read that the measure was "in-line" with the current gay propaganda law.
In a telephone interview Thursday, Innokenty ‘Kes’ Grekov, the Russian coordinator with the New York- based Human Rights First, a global Human Rights advocacy group, told LGBTQ Nation:
"We are seeing yet another case of removal of freedoms for Russian LGBTQI people. But while this bill is on the docket it still has many different places within the Duma to go before it reaches debate. So, chances are there to stop bill. However, this bill is also in the same committee where the [gay] propaganda bill originated."
Grekov also pointed out that the recent ruling by the Ryazan Oblast [Regional] court last month that dismissed an administrative charge against a lesbian activist under a regional “gay propaganda” law, may in fact give LGBTQI Russians hope for legal space and he expressed optimism that international protest may affect the bill's fate.
The author and chief sponsor of the measure, Alexei Zhuravlev said his bill is designed to protect children from “thieves, sinners, and corrupters." 
In the measure, Zhuravlev cited a controversial study on same-sex parenting conducted in 2012 by University of Texas professor Mark Regnerus which claimed that adult children of lesbian mothers reported lower income and poorer health than children brought up by heterosexual couples.
"Harm to the child's psyche is great if one of the parents practises sexual contact with the same sex," Zhuravlev wrote in the explanation of the parenting bill on the Parliamentarian website.
Zhuravlev also said that he believes if a single mother was found to be gay, placing the child in an orphanage “would be an appropriate action” and that she should “definitely be deprived of her rights to the child.”
“Homosexuals must not raise children.,” he said. “They corrupt them. They do them much more harm than if the child were in an orphanage. I am deeply convinced of this.”