President Vladimir Putin says that Russia will never legalize gay marriage as long as he’s in power.
In a Thursday statement, Putin said he won’t allow the traditional notion of mother and father to be distorted by ideas of “parent number 1” and “parent number 2”.
“As far as ‘parent number 1’ and ‘parent number 2’ goes, I’ve already spoken publicly about this and I’ll repeat it again: as long as I’m president this will not happen. There will be dad and mum,” Putin said, according to Reuters.
Putin made the comments during a meeting with a state commission to discuss changes to Russia’s constitution. During the meeting, Putin agreed to add a line to the constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman. “We need only to think in what phrases and where to do this,” he said.
Putin has been in power for 20 years, holding the alternating offices of prime minister and president since 2000. During that time, he has sought to distance Russia from open-minded Western values, such as LGBTQ+-inclusiveness. He has the strong support of the country’s Orthodox Church.
Russia remains a hostile and sometimes dangerous environment for the LGBTQ+ community. In 2013, Putin passed a law outlawing “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” among minors. The law has been used to silence various LGBTQ+ activists in the years since. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the law was discriminatory in 2017.
Per Pink News, Putin’s targeting of gay people is partially due to his concern over birth rates. Former British prime minister David Cameron wrote in his 2019 memoir: “[Putin] said that Russia’s problem was a declining population, and he needed men to marry women and have lots of children.”
The president’s current term is set to end in 2024. However, he recently made “sweeping changes to Russia’s political system” that opponents fear will allow him to stay in power for much longer, per Reuters.