Can Russian children be adopted by foreign gay couples?

The legalization of gay marriage in the UK and France reduces the possibility for British and French families to adopt children from Russia, Konstantin Dolgov, the commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law of the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

The diplomat wrote on his Twitter: "British and French parliaments have legalized gay marriage. This reduces the possibility for the citizens of those countries to adopt Russian children."

The parliaments of the two countries approved the bills to legalize same-sex marriage with an interval of less than a week. In France, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to protest against the law. However, the protests did not show any effect on the National Assembly.

In the UK, there were no mass protests against the legalization of same-sex marriage. In fact, the British Parliament has not made a revolution: in the United Kingdom, people do not treat such unions as something extraordinary. The Brits have nothing against the adoption of children by same-sex families.

Konstantin Dolgov's statement can hardly be called Moscow's official position. At least, for the time being, because the official is not alone in his judgments.

For example, Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights Pavel Astakhov believes that the adoption of children by same-sex couples is out of the question.

"Russia's position is expressed in our basic laws, in the Constitution and in the Family Code. It is clearly stated there that, first of all, a marriage is a union between a man and a woman. Secondly, our children can be adopted by family couples only," he told the Russian Newspaper.

The Ombudsman also reminded that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child does not say that adults have a right for a child. "It says that a child is eligible for a mother and a father, and there should not be anything else," says Pavel Astakhov.

In late January, the State Duma adopted the bill to ban the propaganda of homosexuality among minors. One shall assume that the debate around it is far from being over. As for the reaction of European countries and the U.S., it was predictably negative.

It is worthy of note that the issue of the total ban on the adoption of Russian children by foreigners has already been raised in Russia before. United Russia deputy Yevgeny Fyodorov was one of the initiators of adequate amendments to the Family Code. He explained the need for such a step by saying that "it was  wrong to sell children and people in general."

"Because, unfortunately, during the 1990s, we entered into a series of agreements that do not allow Russia not to export its children, then we should minimize this process at least gradually. The first stage is a law related to the U.S.. The second stage is to leave only the countries, with which agreements have been concluded (France is among those - ed.). And the third stage is to terminate the agreements, when it can be legally possible. As a result of these actions, exports of children from the Russian Federation must be stopped completely," Yevgeny Fyodorov earlier told Pravda.Ru.

Other deputies at the Russian parliament, however, were skeptical about the idea of ​​the total ban of adoptions. Olga Batalina, first deputy chairman of the Duma Committee on Family, Women and Children, a member of United Russia, said that such a bill would have no prospects whatsoever. 

According to her, "in the countries, where this process is conducted openly, in the interests of children, where children's safety is guaranteed, where officials are ready to work actively to create a comfortable environment for adopted children, and where they do not accept any acts of aggression against children, I believe international adoption can work there," she said.

It should be noted that European countries are very different from the U.S. at this point. To put it in a nutshell, in Europe, there are no records of violent acts committed against the children adopted from Russia.

However, Russian officials openly say that the legalization of same-sex marriage will become an additional obstacle for the adoption of children from Russia. For the time being, it goes about restrictions only, although one shall assume that if it comes to practical steps, the controversy will be highly severe.

Anton Kulikov


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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov