WASHINGTON On Feb. 13, Russia officially implemented a law preventing international same sex couples from adopting Russian children.
Additionally the law prevents any unmarried individuals in countries that allow the marriage of same-sex couples from adopting children from Russia. The edict was the official implementation of a law passed in July 2013 that adds an amendment to Russian adoption regulations. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, issued the decree.
"The passage and implementation of these draconian laws are putting LGBT Russians and their allies in the cross-hairs of a caustic political climate," said Ty Cobb, director of HRC's Global Engagement Program. "There is a growing fear that when the spotlight of the Olympics fade, these measures are just the tip of the iceberg and further efforts to harm LGBT people and the children they are raising will continue unabated."
At the close of the Olympics, LGBT Russians may face yet another attack on their liberty and safety. Legislation is pending in the Duma that could potentially remove Russian children from the homes of same-sex parents. While this law was tabled in the fall of last year, new fears have arisen that once the spotlight has been removed from Russia at the close of the Olympic Games, it could make a comeback.
A number of American anti-LGBT activists have actively campaigned for this law in Russia. The National Organization for Marriage's Brian Brown traveled to Russia in June of 2013 to advocate for passage of the adoption ban. Brown gave an interview to a local television station in Moscow, where he told the reporters that prohibiting adoptions by gay and lesbian couples was a way of halting a slippery slope of "very negative developments all over the world." In a speech before the Russian Duma's committee on family, women and children, he stated, "Every child should have the right to have normal parents: a father and a mother." Days after Brown's trip, Putin signed the bill into law.
"American extremists are more and more exporting their flawed 'studies' and hateful attitudes overseas," said Cobb. "With lessening appetite for their snake oil in the U.S., these activists are turning to the international marketplace to peddle their hate."
The Russian decree comes in the wake of other anti-LGBT legislation that was supposedly put in place to protect Russian youth. Another law, which outlaws "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations," was also passed by Russia's Parliament and signed into law by President Putin last year. Under the guise of protecting children from "homosexual propaganda," the law imposes steep fines on citizens who disseminate information that may cause a "distorted understanding" that LGBT and heterosexual relationships are "socially equivalent."