Russia is now taking steps to prevent people, regardless of orientation, who are from countries with legal recognition of same-sex couples from adopting Russian children.
According to Russian news site RIA, the decree reads, “Adoptions can be carried out by members of either sex with the exception of… people in a union of two people of the same sex that has been registered as married according to the legislation of their country… and also unmarried people in such countries.” The decree is signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Affected countries include Spain, France, Canada, and the United States, all of which are known for adopting dozens or more children from Russian orphanages every year; the restriction will also apply to England and Wales starting in March, when their marriage equality laws come into effect.
The legislation was signed into law by President Vladimir Putin in July of 2013, along with the ban on “gay propaganda.”
Fifteen countries currently have marriage equality nationwide: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden and Uruguay. Additionally, some states in both the US and Mexico allow it.
According to thinkprogress, this leaves Italy as “the only nation that both bans same-sex marriage and has the necessary bilateral adoption agreement with Russia.”
The restrictions mean that many of Russia’s abandoned children—whom may well number in the hundreds of thousands—will be left in desperately underfunded and understaffed institutions and foster care. It’s estimated that Russia has four times as many orphaned children than most other Western nations, and those who were abandoned due to disabilities are often left to languish in such institutions for their entire lives. Russian authorities are fully aware of this, and yet still find it preferable to those same children being raised in loving families that might consist of, or even simply know, gay people.
Worse, some lawmakers are happy to add to the numbers of children in state care. Russian Duma deputy Alexei Zhuravlev, the sponsor of a bill that could revoke LGBT parents’ custody of their own children solely because of their sexuality, clearly believes that children are better off being neglected in impersonal institutions than with loving, caring families—if those families just happen to espouse the “wrong kind” of love.