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Russian Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Take Children Away from Gay Parents

Jim Burroway

September 5th, 2013

Russian State Duma Deputy Akexey Zhuravlev has published a draft bill on Parliament’s web site which would make the “fact of nontraditional sexual orientation” a cause for denying custody for gay parents over their children. According to the Kremlin-backed Russia Today:

State Duma deputy from United Russia parliamentary caucus claims that the recently introduced ban on promotion of non-traditional sex relations to minors should be extended to families. Therefore, homosexual parents have no right to raise their children.

MP Aleksey Zhuravlev submitted the suggested amendments to the Family Code to the State Duma on Thursday. The explanatory note to the bill reads that non-traditional sexual orientation of one or both parents would become sufficient reason to deprive both of them of their parental rights.

Following the letter of the law that forbids propaganda of non-traditional sex to minors we must restrict such propaganda not only in mass media but also the family,” Zhuravlev wrote. His reasoning is that “if one of the child’s parents indulges in sexual contact with persons of the same sex, the damage to the child’s psyche is immense as a mother or father serves as an example for their offspring.”

The amendments should apply to those whose families have already collapsed because of the non-traditional contacts of one of the spouses and also to the families where non-traditional sex is openly practiced by one of the parents, the note reads. It adds that for cases when a wife simply suspects her husband of non-traditional sex, the court and the Investigative Committee (Russia’s top law enforcement agency created for dealing with especially important and resonant cases), “have specialists trained in everything.” [Emphasis in the original.]

Russia Today also notes that in accompanying supporting documents, Zhuravlev refers the the fraudulent and debunked paper published in 2012 by University of Austin professor Mark Regnerus, whose paper was paid for with a $700,000 from the Witherspoon Institute.

 Russia Today reports that several top Deputies are “very skeptical about the initiative.” RIA Novosti adds:

The idea of stripping LGBT parents of their rights was first aired in June by ultraconservative Duma lawmaker Yelena Mizulina, an ardent backer of the ban on “gay propaganda.”

Mizulina’s proposal prompted one of Russia’s most prominent gay rights champions, liberal journalist Masha Gessen, to leave Russia for the United States. Gessen said she feared the two children she was raising with her girlfriend could be taken away from her.

“As a gay parent I must flee Russia or lose my children,” Gessen, who holds dual Russian-American citizenship, said in an op-ed in The Guardian newspaper last month.

Zhuravlev, a member of Putin’s United Russia party as well as the All-Russia People’s Front, was selected to lead Russia’s newly-reconstituted nationalist Rodina (short for Motherland-National Patriotic Union) party last year.




September 5th, 2013 | LINK

In the original RT story, there was the following statement:

“Regnerus claims that the children of people who have homosexual relations are less likely to call themselves ‘fully straight’ than the children of heterosexual parents (60-70 percent against 90 percent).”

I don’t think he made that claim in his paper but obviously someone has used the dataset he released (I remember there being a sexual orientation question in the survey instrument). I just assumed it wasn’t significant otherwise the usual right wing suspects would have been touting it as proof gayness is infectious. This is the first time I’ve seem the Regnerus study cited for this claim and I’m curious if they used the larger group (like 260 or so I cant remember exactly that said one parent had same sex affair) or the smaller (like 50 or so – that lived with both same sex partners) for the sample size.

In any event, the data set has too much noise in it to even attempt such a claim and I’m pretty sure Regnerus didn’t want to open that can of worms. But I doubt that a Rusiian lawmaker is the first one to notice this so I’d be curious to know which right wing american group is behind this particular claim. My guess would be Scott Lively???


September 13th, 2013 | LINK

And now a Russian site called Politblog (I’d never heard of it before) claims that Regnerus himself agreed to talk to them, and said that his study was misinterpreted and shouldn’t be used to justify taking people’s children away from them. The Google translation isn’t too terrible.

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