March 12, 2020
Russia’s 2013 law against “gay propaganda” has been used to ban LGBT rallies.
Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, has submitted amendments to parliament that would enshrine God and heterosexual marriage in the constitution.
The changes to the constitution breezed through parliament in late January but the president and the ad-hoc task force he had set up were able to submit other amendments until Monday.
Mr Putin’s latest suggestions include a clause to spell out that a marriage can only mean a union between a man and a woman as well as a mention that Russia “cherishes the memory of ancestors who have passed on their ideals and faith in God,” State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said late on Monday.
LGBT rights in Russia have been under threat since Russia adopted a law in 2013 banning the so-called “gay propaganda” among minors. Rights groups have reported an uptick in violence against gay people due to a perceived impunity for such attacks.
Mr Putin last month vowed to support heterosexual marriage, telling the constitutional task force that Russia will have “mom and dad” as long as he is president.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday dismissed suggestions that Mr Putin’s proposals run counter to the idea of Russia as a secular state, saying that the president and the constitutional task force will clarify their position to the public at a later date.
Russian senators on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved amendments to the constitution submitted by President Vladimir Putin, including the option for him to run for two more terms in the Kremlin.
The constitutional reforms were backed by 160 senators in the upper house Federation Council, with one voting against and three abstaining.
They must now be approved by two-thirds of Russian regional parliaments before being put to a public vote on April 22.
In a speech ahead of the Federation Council’s vote, speaker Valentina Matviyenko called the passing of the amendments “one of the most important issues in (Russia’s) modern history”.
She hailed an amendment introduced on Tuesday that would give Mr Putin the chance to run again when his current term ends in 2024, by effectively resetting the clock on previous presidential terms.
“He raised Russia from its knees” and “is considered one of the world’s great leaders,” she said.