On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave orders to the Supreme Court to make changes to Russian adoption laws in order to prevent same-sex foreign couples from adopting Russian children. Since same-sex marriage isn’t legal in Russia, it’s already impossible for same-sex couples to adopt within the country; but because a gay marriage bill may soon be passed by the French Senate and France recently voted to legalize same-sex adoptions, the Russian President is afraid that if he doesn’t do something, it’ll only be a matter of time before there’ll be lots of gay French couples lining up to adopt Russian children. And this, he believes, will be nothing short of psychologically traumatizing for Russian children.
Of course, there have been multiple studies showing that (surprise, surprise!) there is absolutely nothing inherently traumatizing about being raised by two moms or two dads. Unfortunately, I don’t think President Vladmir Putin has read about how children raised by lesbian couples are just fine and you’re not going to be psychologically damaged simply because your family doesn’t adhere to the one mother, one father, two-and-a-half kids, etc. model.
As evidence that same-sex families are bad for kids, President Putin is citing the case of Yegor Shabatalov, a Russian orphan who was adopted by an American lesbian couple who divorced and are now fighting over Shabatalov. Obviously, this situation hasn’t been good for Yegor Shabatalov; but if anything, it just shows that like heterosexual couples, homosexual couples are far from perfect. Yego Shabatalov’s adoptive parents didn’t split up and fight over him because they’re *gasp* two women; they divorced because sometimes relationships don’t work. It’s unfortunate and sad that poor Yegor was caught in the middle of it, but it is by no means evidence that being adopted by a same-sex couple isn’t good for a child.
Over the past twenty years, there have been around 60,000 Russian children adopted by American families, and at least twenty have died because of mistreatment or accidents. Because of these statistics and many Russian diplomats’ beliefs that the U.S justice system isn’t adequately protecting Russian children in American homes, come January 2014, all American families (gay and straight) will no longer be able to adopt Russian children. While it’s understandable to prioritize the safety of children, since the majority of adoptive parents (and Americans in general) are heterosexual, I’m guessing most of the American couples who adopted those 60,000 children were heterosexual. Again, there is no link between between a child’s safety or well-being and the sexual orientation of his or her parents. It really doesn’t make sense to implement legislation that will ban French and other European same-sex couples from adopting Russian orphans.
The Russian government has made it clear that it will not recognize French or British same-sex couples as legitimate, and the head of the ‘All-Russian Parents’ Assembly wants to take legislation a step further and ban all foreign adoptions because it is “technically difficult to verify the adoptive parents’ sexual orientation and their legal status can be marriage of convenience.”
Though President Vladimir Putin wants the ban on foreign same-sex adoption to come into effect by July 1st of this year, it may take longer to be decided if it will only be same-sex couples or all foreign couples who’ll be banned from adopting Russian children.