Russian Lawmaker Backs Down (For Now) From His Push to Take Children from Gay Parents
October 21, 2013 by Guest contributor
Post submitted by Karim, HRC Global Engagement Intern
This past Saturday, spokesperson Sofia Cherepanova informed the Russian media on MP Alexei Zhuravlyov’s behalf that the proposed bill to deprive LGBT parents of their children has been withdrawn from the Russian Duma. The bill aimed to place sexual orientation in the same category as alcohol and drug abuse as a legal basis for the deprivation of parental rights.
In his push for the bill, Zhuravlyov attempted to paint LGBT people as abnormal or somehow harmful to the wellbeing of children, but the real harm will come from senselessly ripping families apart. A person’s sexual orientation or gender identity and expression has nothing to do with his or her ability to be a good parent.
When asked for reasoning behind the introduction of the bill, Zhuravlyov said, “It occurred to me that since we have a law explicitly prohibiting the promotion of homosexuality among minors, the Family Code should be amended in such a way that that if a husband or a wife professes a non-traditional sexual orientation, they should be deprived of their parental rights. The purpose of this would be to restrict the influence of such a person on his or her own children.”
Although the withdrawal of the bill may seem like a cause for celebration, many Russian LGBT individuals, such as Masha Gessen and her partner Darya, are much more wary. “Just think what we have come to think of as good news," Gessen wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times. "The crackdown is proceeding at a pace of five steps forward, one step back — and we rejoice when the step back is taken."
Gessen points out that any celebration for the withdrawal of the bill is premature. In addition to announcing the withdrawal of the bill, spokesperson Cherepanova also added that the bill was to be revised and to be resubmitted to the Russian State Duma at a future date. Cherepanova then went on to say that although Zhuravlyov withdrew the bill, his position on the matter “remains unchanged.”
If the bill does make it into law, it is reported that 2.3 to 3.3 million Russians could lose their children.
The proposed anti-LGBT legislation is the latest in Russian government's resent push to codify ignorance and hatred. Since the passage of the "homosexual propaganda" law, there has been an increase in violence toward the LGBT community.
Learn more about HRC's work to bring justice to Russia's LGBT community. www.hrc.org/Russia