Post submitted by Charlie Joughin, HRC Press Secretary
As a growing chorus of condemnation mounts against a bevy of new anti-LGBT legislation in Russia, today it emerged that National Organization for Marriage (NOM) president Brian Brown traveled to Moscow earlier this year in support of a bill – now law – that bans the adoption of Russian children by gay couples, unmarried couples and single people in countries where same-sex marriage is legal. People For the American Way shared a video from an interview Brown gave to a local television station, 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.”
“This goes well beyond marriage,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “Apparently NOM is expanding its portfolio to include the international persecution of LGBT people. We knew that Brian Brown had it out for gay people in America, but it’s now become clear that he’s hell-bent on ruining the lives of gays and lesbians worldwide.”
After Brown’s visit, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed the approved legislation into law. Another law, which outlaws "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations," was also passed by Russia’s Parliament and signed into law by President Putin this 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." And yesterday it was reported that a committee of the Russian Parliament advanced a bill that would make homosexuality – or presumed homosexuality – a basis for denying parental custody. The bill is scheduled for a vote by the Duma in February of next year.
According to its own Facebook page, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) “aims to defend marriage as the union of one man & one woman, and protect the faith communities that sustain it.” Yet in recent months, NOM has also expanded its work to include campaigns against transgender youth and marriage efforts in France.