Russia: Bill to deny gay parents custody of their children temporarily withdrawn



MOSCOW — A bill in the Russian parliament that would have allowed government officials to remove children from homes of gay parents has been temporarily withdrawn from consideration.

Sofia Cherepanova, a spokesperson for Alexei Zhuravlev, the conservative lawmaker who introduced the measure, confirmed that the measure is listed as “withdrawn” on the website of the Federal State Duma (Russia’s Parliament), and that while it is no longer an active piece of draft legislation, its sponsor does intend to reintroduce the bill.

“It’s being recalled for revision — certain legal formulations will be clarified, and then after some points are removed, it will be brought to the State Duma again,” said Cherepanova. “We hope to pass the bill.”

The proposed measure was the latest attack by Russian lawmakers on the rights of LGBT people, and comes following passage of a pair of anti-gay laws, one which prohibits the distribution of information relating to “nontraditional sexual relationships” and another which prohibits adoption of Russian children by same-sex couples, or from those in nations which legally recognize same-sex marriage.

Elena Mizulina, the author and chief sponsor of the federal propaganda law and the head of the State Duma’s Committee on Family, Women and Children, where the bill would have been debated and reviewed, had repeatedly said in public remarks to Russian media she believed Zhuravlev’s measure would not pass.

Zhuravlev has said that he believes if a single mother was found to be gay, placing the child in an orphanage “would be an appropriate action” and that she should “definitely be deprived of her rights to the child.”

“Homosexuals must not raise children.,” he said. “They corrupt them. They do them much more harm than if the child were in an orphanage. I am deeply convinced of this.”

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A Kremlin source, speaking to LGBTQ Nation Sunday, said the decision to withdraw the bill less than one month after it cleared a bureaucratic hurdle that put it on the Duma’s official calender to be considered as soon as February 2014, was odd and politically motivated.

“With the western media and public focus on Russia’s human rights records as to the question of LGBT people as the Sochi Olympic games is near, one must consider that pressure comes to table these laws. They damage perceptions of Russia and Putin would not favor such negativity,” the source said.

Human Rights and LGBT rights activists welcomed the move but warned that it was more than likely to be resubmitted to the Duma after the Sochi games have concluded and when global attention is elsewhere.

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