Thursday, July 4, 2013

Putin signs Russian law prohibiting gay foreign adoption - with some nasty comments to boot

Out of the frying pan and into the fire

Guadalajara -
One week to the day after the United States Supreme Court handed down two landmark decisions further legitimizing same sex unions in the U.S., Russian president Valdimir Putin yesterday signed into law a sweeping bill which prohibits the adoption of Russian children by foreign gay couples, and even by single persons who live in nations where gay marriage is legal.

The bill easily passed both houses of Russia's parliament in late June.

Putin's comments may prove as controversial as the new law. He was widely quoted in the Mexican press yesterday, allegedly remarking, "Me tienen harto con esas parejas homosexuales - I've had it with those gay couples."

On June 26 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in two cases which will give strong impetus to same sex unions in the United States. Although the Court emphasized that the legal definition of marriage and who may enter into it remain for each of the 50 states to decide, it held that the federal government may not discriminate in any way against same sex couples, particularly with respect to tax and other economic benefits. The U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage, in a nutshell.

Adoption by same sex couples in the Unites States is also a matter of state law, with the majority of jurisdictions either allowing it or having no statutes on the subject. Developing case law in American courts has generally endorsed adoption by gay couples, and any legislative or judicial effort to curtail it would be subject to intense constitutional challenge after last week's rulings by the nation's highest tribunal.

The Russian government is tracking a very different course, and has warned that it will scrutinize the domestic relations laws of other nations before entering into international adoption treaties with them. The new law was drafted broadly enough so that even single persons may not adopt a Russian child if they reside in a nation which recognizes gay marriage. Heterosexual couples remain eligible to apply for adoption.

In recent years the United States, Italy and Spain have been the three leading countries in adoption of Russian children.

The Putin administration says it will crack down on adoption agencies which it discovers have placed a Russian child with a "homosexual family, or one with a nontraditional sexual orientation," stripping them of their operational licenses.

Technical procedures under the new law have been simplified, with shorter waiting times for final approval of the proposed adoption by family court judges. The Russian government has also agreed to pay a subsidy of $3,100 dollars to families which adopt a disabled orphan, or a child older than seven.

A legislative rider to the new international adoption law forbids the "dissemination of homosexual propaganda" among minors, which gay dissidents complain is transparently designed to prevent marches and public displays of gay pride. In Moscow and other Russian cities, gay activists have been frequent targets of violence during street demonstrations.

Putin's signature on the new law, coupled with his sure to be unappreciated comments, is likely to draw him back into a negative spotlight in the U.S. Last week he said that under no circumstances would Russia extradite former NSA security contractor Edward Snowden, who remains holed up in Moscow's airport looking for a place to call home. On Monday he said Snowden could remain in the capital indefinitely, provided he stops leaking information "which might hurt our American partners, strange as those words may sound coming from my mouth."

Sept. 18 - Rusia prohíbe la adopción a países con unión homosexual

July 5 - Ex-Russian spy Anna Chapman proposes marriage to Edward Snowden
July 1 - Putin: Snowden can stay, but no more NSA leaks
June 25 - Putin says Snowden is still in Russia, but not really

"Evo, have you seen a copy of our new gay adoption law? I think you'll approve."

© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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