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Why is Vladimir Putin proposing a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage?

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir PutinPhoto: Shutterstock

Russian president Vladimir Putin is proposing a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, even though same-sex marriage is not currently recognized in the country and is unlikely to be recognized in Russia’s near future.

A set of constitutional changes proposed by the autocrat would define marriage as between “a man and a woman” and insert a mention of Russia’s “faith in God.”

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A 2019 poll showed that 80% of the country opposed same-sex marriage. Putin himself has said that he will not allow same-sex marriage to happen in Russia.

A gay couple that married in Denmark in 2018 was disappeared by police when they came home and tried to get their marriage recognized in Russia, and the country also banned pro-LGBTQ activism and speech in a 2013 law meant to fight “gay propaganda.”

So there doesn’t appear that the need for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage is entirely clear.

The proposed constitutional changes are part of a larger set of reforms that are meant to expand the powers of the national legislature, the Duma.

Putin was president from 2000 to 2008 and then again from 2012 to today. He is expected to leave office in 2024.

Critics say that his proposed constitutional changes would expand the powers of the prime minister, a position that he could stay in for the rest of his life. He could also become a senator for the rest of his life or the head of the State Council.

So it is possible that the proposed ban on same-sex marriage is being used to shore up support for the other constitutional changes, as these sorts of bans were used a decade ago in the United States to get support for conservatives at the polls.

The APA issued 3 statements supporting LGBTQ people & equality

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