Russian Duma to debate bill that would remove parental rights of gay people
Proposal by party colleague of Putin cites discredited study by US sociologist
A woman holds a poster depicting Russian president Vladimir Putin during a recent protest at the Russian embassy in Madrid against Russia’s new law that bans “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations”. Photograph: Paul White/AP
A bill to remove parental rights from gays and lesbians who have children has been introduced in the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament. The bill cites a controversial study by Mark Regnerus, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas in Austin, which claims that gay parenting can cause series psychological problems in children.
The basis of Prof Regnerus’s theory, put forward in 2012, has been declared invalid by the American Sociological Association, but deputy Andrei Zhuravlyov of President Putin’s United Russia Party moved the bill, citing the controversial study and claiming: “The harm that could be inflicted on a child’s mental health if their parents are homosexual is immense.”
The bill proposes that if either or both parents are homosexual there would be grounds for termination of parental rights.
The idea of stripping LGBT parents of their rights was suggested in June by Yelena Mizurina, the ultra-conservative Duma deputy responsible for the controversial “Gay Propaganda to Minors” bill which has been the subject of strong criticism in the West.
The new move has provoked strong criticism not only from LGBT activists but from also from the chairman of the Presidential Council on Human Rights Mikhail Fedotov, who described it as being as ridiculous as a law to ban left-handed people from driving cars, a comment that indicates the move may not have presidential backing.
Nikolai Alekseyev, a leading gay activist, told the news agency Interfax yesterday he believed deputies in the Duma were competing with each other about who could come up with the most absurd legal initiative. “I cannot imagine how this initiative can be taken in the Duma. It is just another populist campaign [by Zhuravlyov] to attract attention to himself.”
“I don’t believe that such a law could possibly be signed by the president ,” he added.