by Leander Milbrecht
Good news from Russia – for a change. A government commission and the Human Rights Council took a clear stand against amendments to the country’s Family Code that would have once again banned marriage equality and same-sex adoption – and legally wiped out transgender people. Will the law now fail in the Duma?
First, the Human Rights Council of Russia ruled against the amendments in a judgement – it said they would endanger the welfare of children. It was also noted that any changes to the Family Code would require a broad public debate. The Chairman of the Council, Valeriy Fadeev, told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti:
“Here, too, the question arises: how deep can public institutions get into the family?All this needs to be balanced and in the centre, of course, should be the rights of the child.”
The Human Rights Council’s ruling was followed yesterday by another “no” from Russia’s Government Commission. The commission is responsible for formulating the government’s position on draft laws. They rejected the present draft – which, in the words of the co-responsible minister Yelena Misulina, was aimed at “strengthening the institution of the family”. The commission argued that the draft was too vague and did not provide any reasons why the Family Code needed to be amended.
Misulina’s law – doomed to fail?
The queer community knows Yelena Misulina mainly through her “anti-gay propaganda law”, which she put together for Putin in 2013. The 65-year-old was also at the forefront of this year’s queer-hostile discussion. The draft, which is commonly referred to as “Misulina’s Law”, was presented by the Federation Council.
The proposed amendments to the 1993 Constitution were also, but not only, intended to renegotiate the rights of queer people. Same-sex couples should continue to be banned from marriage and adoption – both of which are already illegal in Russia anyway. According to Misulina, the law should fill important gaps – for example in the recognition of marriages contracted abroad.
A particularly perfidious point, however, is that transgender people should no longer be allowed to change the gender entry on their birth certificates. As a result, they wouldn’t be able to obtain a new passport and other new identification documents – transgender people would in fact no longer be legally recognised in the country and thus be “wiped out”.
The law has not yet been cancelled – but is now likely to fail in the Duma.
- Elena_Mizulina,_2016: The Council of the Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation / CC-BY 4.0 / wikimedia.org
A ridiculous amount of coffee was consumed in the process of building this project. Add some fuel if you'd like to keep us going!