This article was published on April 15th, 2021
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law several constitutional amendments that will formally classify marriage as between a man and woman in the country. The move intensifies Russia’s years-long crackdown on the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.
According to the Associated Press, a poll of Russian voters reported 78% of them backing amendments in a referendum that took place in July 2020. In addition to denying rights to the queer community, new constitutional changes allow Putin to run for the office of president two more times – an unprecedented move for the country.
Amendments to Also Curb Gay Adoption
Aside from banning same-sex marriages in the newly approved amendments, there will also be a ban on transgender people from adopting children as well. In Russia, marriage equality has been a hot-button issue and is considered illegal, with many LGBTQ+ people facing persecution from government authorities. Until last week, however, the definition of what a marriage is defined as was unclear.
But now with the new wording in the upcoming constitution, this is no longer the issue and activists in the country are prepared to fight. It had been the hope that the loophole would remain and allow LGBTQ+ members the possibility of one day introducing same-sex marriages on a legal basis.
Putin’s Long History Against LGBTQ+ People
In 2013, Putin outraged the global community when he signed into law a ban that denies the promotion of what the government classified as ‘gay propaganda’ to minors. Despite the protests and worldwide leaders railing against Putin and his regime, the Kremlin continued to downplay any LGBTQ+ problems within the country.
Although these problems are considered dire, the more pressing ones involve Putin being able to run for re-election and grant restrictions on educational activities that will negatively impact the work of human rights organizations and academic institutions.
Putin’s Reign To Be Extended
New presidential term limits also will allow Putin to remain in power until as long as 2036, plus grant him immunity from prosecution for the rest of his life. The president also has approved language that specifies a belief in God and restrictions on negative foreign interference in the education process. The controversial measures have resulted in thousands of artists and academics protesting their basic civil rights in an open letter released in March.
Since legislation has been passed, hate crimes have been dramatically on the rise as people are targeted due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Some reports indicate that crimes have more than doubled since 2013, with the territory of Chechnya noted for its notorious ‘gay purge’ that has resulted in suspected LGBTQ+ members being rounded up, tortured, beaten, and in some instances killed. Additionally, it is estimated that more than 200 people have been detained, with some dying while being held.
As this story continues to develop, HomoCulture will keep up-to-date with the latest news on this region.