Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, said to a pool of reporters on Monday that he will not allow same-sex adoption or support marriage equality “as long as [he’s] president” – currently set to be at least to 2024.
The comments were made at a press conference regarding a state-approved commission that will consider potential changes to the Russian constitution. Putin is supposedly trying to shape Russia’s laws and constitutionality in a way that would allow him to maintain power after his current term ends.
A reporter asked if a proposal that would “add a line in the constitution defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman” would be considered. Putin replied, “We need only to think in what phrases and where to do this.”
While the question was about same-sex marriage, Putin’s response focused on ruling on the potential of LGBTQ families being legal parents.
“As far as ‘parent number 1’ and ‘parent number 2’ goes, I’ve already spoken publicly about this and I’ll repeat it again,” Putin said, “as long as I’m president this will not happen. There will be dad and mum.”
Putin’s devout Orthodox Christianity faith is what’s credited for influencing him to make decisions such as this. Under his control, Russia has remained an intensely unsafe state for out LGBTQ people. Homosexuality isn’t outlawed, but promoting LGBTQ “propaganda” such as Pride events, is punishable with prison time. Since 2013, you can’t even legally talk about homosexuality to children.
LGBTQ people remain the target of bigotry within all levels of Russian society as well. A toy store in Siberia came under attack for reportedly producing a transgender doll, and a college threatened to expel a student for having a pink phone case and subscribing to a LGBT page online.
Despite this, last fall Putin claimed that his country isn’t anti-LGBTQ. “…We have been condemned for our alleged homophobia, but we have no problem with LGBT persons. God forbid, let them live as they wish,” he said at a Russian political summit. He did, however, claim that being pro-LGBTQ has “come into conflict” and made liberalism “obsolete.”
Currently, Putin is not allowed to serve more than three consecutive terms as President – meaning he must leave the office in 2024. He previously served as Prime Minister, then as President from 2000 to 2008, then one stint as Prime Minister again before returning to the Presidency in 2012.
Editor’s Note: This article previously described Vladimir Putin as “a longtime Communist leader”. We have updated this to reflect a more accurate description of Putin’s career and role in politics.