Putin Formally Bans Same-Sex Marriages in Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed into law a series of constitutional amendments that, among other things, formally defines marriage as between a man and a woman in the country.

The Associated Press reported upwards of 78 percent of Russian voters backed the amendments in a referendum that took place last July. Russian lawmakers later approved the constitutional changes that also allow Putin to run for president two more times.

Mikhail "Misha" Tumasov, a Russian LGBTQ activist and human rights defender, in an email to the Washington Blade noted the law that Putin signed "emphasizes recent changes in the constitution" that include an "adopted formula of a family exclusively as a union of a man and a woman which wasn't in the constitution and gave hope to introduce same sex marriages on that legal base."

"There is no need for any other legal actions as same-sex marriages are de jure illegal," said Tumasov.

Putin in 2013 sparked global outrage when he signed a law that bans the promotion of so-called gay propaganda to minors. Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, who is a close Putin ally, and the Kremlin continue to downplay the anti-LGBTQ crackdown in Chechnya.

Tumasov told the Blade the "most problematic issues" with the law that Putin signed on Monday include the option for him to run for re-election and "restrictions" on "educational activities, which will brutally impact (the) work of human rights NGOs and academic institutions."

This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National LGBT Media Association.