Protest in Moscow over bill to deny LGBT community parental rights

posted 14 Oct 2013, 01:28 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 14 Oct 2013, 06:30 ]
7 October 2013 

Source: (info
On 6 October, six LGBT activists marched along Moscow's Arbat with flaming torches and a banner with the slogan, “Hitler also started with homosexuals. No to fascism in Russia!” They were voicing their opposition to a bill depriving the LGBT community of parenting rights, proposed in September by Aleksei Zhuravlev, a State Duma deputy from the United Russia party.

As Grani reports, police officers arrested four of the participants in the protest. One passer-by helped police arrest the activists. Several people were outraged by the actions of the police and asked them not to touch the protesters. According to OVD Info, those arrested were Reida Lin, Niks Nemeni, Ildar Dadin and Roman Petrishchev.

OVD Info reports that one of those arrested, Ildar Dadin, was taken to hospital from the Arbat police station. The rest were given formal notice of charges filed against them under Article 19.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences (insubordination to police officers), and face up to 15 days of confinement.

Aleksei Zhuravlev’s bill envisages alterations to the Family Law Code. “Where one of a child’s parents have sexual contact with individuals of their own gender,” this could inflict “great damage” upon the child’s mental state, says the explanatory note accompanying the bill.

“The bill applies to those whose family has already fallen apart as a result of the ‘nontraditional relations’ of one of the spouses, or to those parents who are not attempting to hide their sexual relations with individuals of the same gender,” Zhuravlev explained to Kommersant. And if the wife suspects that her husband is taking part in nontraditional sexual relations, the deputy says that “there is a court and an investigative committee whose specialists are trained to deal with everything”.

Moreover, Zhuravlev is convinced that no problems will arise in the implementation of this law, since the Family Law Code “is very careful on the issue of taking away rights”. The deprivation of parental rights is currently applicable in cases where the parents are alcoholic or drug-dependent, or where one of them has committed a deliberate attempt on the life of their child, treats the child cruelly or refuses to take the child home from the maternity hospital.

According to Kommersant, even the members of Zhuravlev’s own party have shown some scepticism towards the bill. “We could invent plenty more reasons to take a child from his family,” Olga Batalina, first deputy of the State Duma’s Committee for Children, Women and the Family told Kommersant. “But the task of lawmakers is to use legislation to create conditions under which the child can be kept in the family, as long as his rights are not being violated.”

On 21 June, the State Duma passed a bill on its third reading banning single-sex couples from adopting children. The document also bans the adoption of Russian children by citizens of countries where same-sex marriage is officially sanctioned – including, for example, France. All 444 deputies present at the session unanimously supported the modification of the Family Law Code for this purpose. The amendment was carried out on 18 June during the second reading of the draft bill. On 26 June, the Council of the Federation also unanimously approved the law. Vladimir Putin signed the law into force in July.