A bill introduced in September by Russian legislator Alexei Zhuravlyov that would strip LGBT parents of custodial rights has been withdrawn by its author. However, according to a spokeswoman for Zhuravlyov, he plans to reintroduce the measure with revisions. “We are interested in passing the bill,” she said.
The law would provide an amendment to article 69 of Russia’s Family Code, allowing for the termination of parental rights should a parent be outed as gay or lesbian. The legislation would treat homosexuality as an “asocial lifestyle” equal to child abuse or not paying child support.
“I had an idea,” said Zhuravlyov. “If we have a law prohibiting the promotion of homosexuality among minors, the Family Code should be amended, that if one of the spouses profess a different sexual orientation, he should be deprived of parental rights. In order to limit the impact of this man on his own children.”
When he originally proposed the bill, Zhuravlyov told Russian news website Slon that courts would look for “clear signs” of homosexuality and admitted that the law would only work if, “information about a parent’s sexual orientation would up in some sort of public domain.”
Zhuravlyov originally proposed the bill after citing a discredited study by University of Texas professor Mark Regnerus. The study reported that the children of LGBT parents were more likely to be gay with a high risk of suicide, venereal diseases, unemployment and cheating. “[The study has been] carefully checked by independent experts and raises no doubts,” maintains Zhuravlyov.
When the Slon interviewer asked him about the trend of Europe becoming more open to LGBT parents and families, Zhuravlyov said, “We see Europe as Sodom and Gomorrah.” And when asked about the already overflowing orphanages throughout Russia, Zhuravlyov said, “Do not worry. We need first of all to raise a healthy generation… A homosexual should not raise a child. He corrupts it. He inflicts much greater injury than if the child was in an orphanage.”
The right-leaning politician maintains that such legislation is not the beginning of a witch-hunt. “We will not authorize the police to identify those citizens,” he said. “We just put the law on the side of the child. And as for the identification of such people, we have a school in which the child is learning, there are circles. Sooner or later it will be obvious.”
Though the bill is not necessarily set to become law, many legislators have expressed support, starting with lawmaker Elena Mizulina back in June. Earlier this month, a similar bill was introduced by Vitaly Milonov, the same lawmaker who proposed the ban on “gay propaganda.” Milonov’s new bill would ban gay couples from using a surrogate mother to have children.
“At present, Russian law has a loophole through which members of sexual minorities are allowed to inform children about homosexuality,” said Milonov. “By and large, thanks to surrogacy homosexuals have the ability to inform a child about their lifestyle, values and views on gender roles and relations…It is necessary to amend the Russian law banning the promotion of homosexuality and pedophilia among minors, officially registering a ban on the use of surrogacy for gay men and people with blurred sexual preferences.”