Putin Signs Russian Law Banning Adoptions by Gay Foreigners

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a new law Wednesday that prohibits overseas adoptions by gay couples or by unmarried foreigners from countries that have legalized same-sex marriage. The government says the law aims to protect children from “dictated non-traditional sexual behavior” and cites “psychologists’ research” about stresses it says “are often experienced by children raised by same-sex parents.”

The law was passed last month by both houses of the nation’s parliament, and reflects not only a backlash against gay-rights activism in Russia, but also a growing concern among Russians about abuse of adopted children. Last year, when the government enacted a law banning Russian adoptions in the United States, officials said 19 adopted Russian children had died in U.S. in the past decade. That law was named for Dima Yakovlev, a 2-year-old boy who died after his adoptive American father left him locked inside a car on a hot summer day.

Since his re-election last year, Putin “has embraced the Russian Orthodox Church as a moral authority and harnessed its influence as a source of political support,” according to the Reuters news agency. Russia does not recognize same-sex marriage, and Putin complained last month that protesters and journalists keep “pestering” him about the issue. Last week, Putin signed a controversial new law against ”propagating homosexuality among minors”:

Under the amended law holding LGBT rallies is now prohibited as well as distribution of information aimed at forming non-traditional sexual concepts in children, describing such ties as attractive, promoting the distorted understanding of social equality of traditional and non-traditional relations and also unwanted solicitation of information that could provoke interest in such relations.
Thus, for giving children propaganda about homosexuality — lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community — individuals could be fined up to 5,000 rubles ($US 152) for such ‘propaganda’ and foreigners could be fined the same amount, held in jail for 15 days and deported.
Officials will have to pay up to 50,000 rubles (about US$ 1,500) and companies — up to 500,000 rubles (about $US 15,000).
Using the media or the internet for the promotion of non-traditional sex relations carries even harsher punishment. Individuals will have to shell out up to 100,000 rubles (about US$ 3,000), while organizations — a million rubles or face a 90-day suspension of activities.

The recent wave of anti-gay legislation in Russia has been widely criticized by international human rights activists. Some analysts see it as a political response to Russia’s demographic crisis. Decades of relatively low birth rates threaten Russia with an aging population and economic decline, and the nation has long stigmatized homosexuality, historian Patricia Herlihy noted last month:

From the time of Stalin through the collapse of the Soviet Union, homosexuality was illegal in Russia, and many Russians still view it is a disorder. As Vitaly Milonov, the primary backer of the anti-gay legislation in St. Petersburg, announced, “Homosexuality is best cured by fasting and prayer.” A Ukrainian member of parliament expressed a prevalent attitude in Russia when he said: “The spread of homosexuality is a threat to national security because it propagates the HIV/AIDS epidemic, destroys the family and could lead to a demographic crisis.”
The implication in Russia’s recent actions is that homosexuality, divorce and abortion are central factors in Russia’s weak birthrate and high rate of early death. Choosing these targets plays to popular sentiment and reinforces the dogma of an increasingly vocal Russian Orthodox Church.

Russian concerns about foreign adoptions have been fueled by a series of headline-making abuse cases. Last week it was revealed that a boy born in Russia had been sexually abused since infancy by two gay men who adopted him in 2005. Authorities say the Australian couple, Mark Newton and Peter Truong, were part of an “international syndicate” of pedophiles known as the Boy Lovers Network, and that photos and videos of the boy being sexually molested were distributed over the Internet.

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2 Comments

  1. Pingback : Russia Says ‘Nyet’ to Gay Adoptions : The Other McCain

  2. July 4, 2013  9:32 am by jfmoris Reply

    Hooray for common sense. And Hooray for “psychologists’ research” that was not corrupted by "political correctness".

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