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Russian MP moves to strip gays of parental rights

Published time: September 05, 2013 11:09
The State Duma's assembly hall. (RIA Novosti/Ruslan Krivobok)

The State Duma's assembly hall. (RIA Novosti/Ruslan Krivobok)

State Duma deputy from United Russia parliamentary caucus claims that the recently introduced ban on promotion of non-traditional sex relations to minors should be extended to families. Therefore, homosexual parents have no right to raise their children.

MP Aleksey Zhuravlev submitted the suggested amendments to the Family Code to the State Duma on Thursday. The explanatory note to the bill reads that non-traditional sexual orientation of one or both parents would become sufficient reason to deprive both of them of their parental rights.

Following the letter of the law that forbids propaganda of non-traditional sex to minors we must restrict such propaganda not only in mass media but also the family,” Zhuravlev wrote. His reasoning is that “if one of the child’s parents indulges in sexual contact with persons of the same sex, the damage to the child’s psyche is immense as a mother or father serves as an example for their offspring.”

The amendments should apply to those whose families have already collapsed because of the non-traditional contacts of one of the spouses and also to the families where non-traditional sex is openly practiced by one of the parents, the note reads. It adds that for cases when a wife simply suspects her husband of non-traditional sex, the court and the Investigative Committee (Russia’s top law enforcement agency created for dealing with especially important and resonant cases), “have specialists trained in everything.”

Currently, Russian law lists alcohol and drug addiction, premeditated crime against a child’s life and voluntary refusal as sufficient grounds for depriving someone of parental rights.

So far, MPs are very skeptical about the initiative. Olga Batalina, deputy head of the State Duma Committee for Family and Children, told Kommersant daily that instead of investing new reasons to break families the deputy should think more about how to keep children with their parents. Batalina also noted that Russia only recognizes traditional marriage and all other types of relationships are outside the legal sphere, and thus cannot be regulated by the state.

Communist Party parliamentarians are ready to discuss the bill if Zhuravlev agrees to personally monitor the non-traditional sexual practices in families and presents an official report on results of such monitoring,” party secretary Sergey Obukhov said.

In the documents attached to the bill, Zhuravlev referred not to personal monitoring, but to research conducted by Mark Regnerus, an associate professor at the University of Texas in Austin. Regnerus claims that the children of people who have homosexual relations are less likely to call themselves ‘fully straight’ than the children of heterosexual parents (60-70 percent against 90 percent).

In addition, Regnerus claims that children of homosexual parents demonstrated three times the incidences of VD (25 percent against 8 percent), five times greater suicidal tendencies (25 percent against 5 percent) and three times the level of “inability to remain faithful to partners” (40 percent against 13 percent).

Prominent Russian gay rights activist Nikolay Alekseyev told the press that he could not believe that the lower house could approve the bill or that it could be signed by the Russian president.

The president has said that the rights of people of homosexual orientation are not infringed in our country. Such initiatives create unwanted tensions between Russia and the West. This is a provocation against the Russian authorities,” Interfax quoted Alekseyev as saying.

President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly dismissed the allegations that the recent legislative initiatives in Russia were discriminatory towards gays. In the most recent interview to Associated Press and Russia’s Channel One, Putin said that he had “absolutely normal relations” with representatives of the LGBT movement adding that he is working with such people and sometimes even hands them state awards.

The chairman of the Presidential Council for Human Rights, Mikhail Fedotov, said the fresh bill was a disaster and an attempt to gain popularity through inflating the unimportant yet controversial problems.

Maybe we should also take driving licenses from all left-handed people? They are left-handed and the cars have steering wheels on the left, it must be harder for them to drive,” Fedotov told reporters. “It is a disaster when an issue that is on the 30th place by its importance is elevated to the top of social mind and inflated to the size of a global cataclysm because afterwards we don’t know what to do with it,” the rights activist said.