Putin Signs Constitutional Amendment Banning Same-Sex Marriage in Russia
On Monday, April 5, 2021, Vladimir Putin formally banned same-sex marriage in Russia by signing a constitutional amendment. It has been reported that nearly 78% of Russians voted on the marriage equality ban.
This troubling news can be traced back to the summer of 2020, when the country voted on a referendum including over 200 constitutional amendments. The definition of marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman was one of them. (Another amendment, equally as troubling for notions of democracy, proposed resetting presidential term limits; and since it passed, Vladimir Putin can now stay in power until 2036 if he so chooses.)
Putin has also given ex-presidents lifetime immunity from prosecution with these constitutional amendments.
Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David in a statement said:
Russia is tripling down on its attacks on the basic human rights and dignity of LGBTQ people by adding constitutional prohibitions against marriage equality. Putin and his administration used propaganda brochures leading up to the election promising a return to ‘traditional family values,’ using marriage between loving couples as a wedge to push through his nefarious agenda. It is shameful, manipulative and malicious.
Although same-sex marriage in Russia was already illegal during the time of this decision, the amendment specifically forbidding gay marriage is yet another roadblock for LGBTQ activists in the country. It should also be noted that every time the Russian government mandates an attack on LGBTQ rights, anti-LGBTQ violence rises.
NBC reported on the bizarre nature of the referendum this summer:
Much about the vote was irregular for a Russian election, beginning with online voting and a nearly weeklong opportunity for citizens to stop by polling stations amid the coronavirus pandemic.
But apart from the staggered voting, the most novel aspect of Wednesday’s election was that early results were announced by the Central Election Commission well before polls had closed in many parts of the country.
If this entire thing feels nefarious and shady to you … let’s just say you’re not alone.