LGBT+ rights in Russia under attack as new bill bans same-sex marriage and adoption by trans parents

Police detained 142 people during a protest against Vladimir Putin's proposed constitutional reforms, which will restrict LGBT+ rights in Russia.

LGBT+ rights Russia two people wearing rainbow flags with a poster of Putin wearing making reading 'Complice'

LGBT+ rights in Russia have been set back as newly proposed legislation bans same-sex marriage, adoption by trans parents, and recognition of same-sex unions abroad. 

On Wednesday, July 15, Senator Yelenda Mizulina, a co-author of the contested new bill, outlined how this legislation will further restrict LGBT+ rights. She told Interfax, “The bill ends the practice of marriage between persons of the same sex, including those who changed genders.”

Earlier this month, preliminary results from a week-long referendum showed overwhelming support from Russian voters for these constitutional amendments. Under the new bill, LGBT+ rights in Russia will be further restricted, such as banning same-sex marriage, and Vladimir Putin’s presidential term can be extended to 2036. 

Speaking with NBC News, a lawyer with the LGBT+ support group, Coming Out, Max Olenichev detailed the long term impact of the bill, “LGBT people will be left behind. Our society really looks up to what the government does, so any kinds of public actions promoting homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, many people may perceive as a call for action. And we believe that there will be more hate speech and hate crimes, and that LGBT people will suffer more violence.”

LGBT+ activists have recently taken part in a protest against Putin’s constitutional reforms on Wednesday, with many holding placards which read, ‘I don’t recognise the authority that keeps me from having a family’. Throughout the day, people marched through Moscow while others lay down in the streets. 

LGBT+ activists take part in a protest against Putin's constitutional reforms restricting their rights in Russia, image by Reuters

The protest predominately took place in Moscow’s central Pushkin Square, where people collected signatures from hundreds of supporters against Putin’s constitutional reforms. Activists are aiming to contest these changes with the support of the public in court. 

In the evening of the protests, police arrested 142 people, including journalists and prominent Moscow city councillor, Yulia Galyamina. One person told AFB News Agency, “The authorities do whatever they want, people’s opinion does not interest anybody.”

As a sign of solidarity with the LGBT+ community in Russia, Berlin has set up a new Pride event for Marzahn. Berlin’s Governing Mayor Michael Müller said this occasion “draws attention to LGBTI people in Russian-speaking countries, where its members could not live their lives freely.”

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