Statement by the Board of the Russian LGBT Network on the Draft Bill to "Strengthen and Protect Family Institutions"

On July 14, a draft bill was submitted to the State Duma to "Amend the Family Code of the Russian Federation with the aim of strengthening the family institution". The Board of the Russian LGBT Network considers this draft bill discriminatory, violating the principle of equality of all individuals under the law and going against the spirit of the Constitution. The Board of the Russian LGBT Network is calling upon the Russian civil society and all acting LGBT+ rights organizations and advocacy groups to unite and oppose the changes together.

The draft bill submitted to the State Duma proposes a number of changes. We are deeply concerned by such a harsh intrusion into private lives of individuals and stand in sincere support and solidarity with all transgender, bisexual and homosexual people. It is clear that the proposed changes violate people's rights and freedoms. A preliminary analysis of the draft bill has allowed us to highlight the main changes concerning the rights of the LGBT+ community.

  1. A box asking to specify the "sex at birth" is added to the birth certificate. It is not possible to change this information during transition. At the same time, the proposed legislation is requiring that people who have already changed their birth certificate amend it with the "old" information.
  2. It is not possible to register a marriage without a birth certificate. Consequently, a person who has transitioned will not be able to marry. Such a marriage would be considered as "same-sex" based on the information in the birth certificate. We do not yet know how this will affect transgender people who are already married.
  3. The draft bill sets additional criteria that make it impossible for a same-sex marriage that has been registered abroad to be recognized in Russia.

What we must do:

  • We are asking everyone who believes in the equality of all individuals under the law to spread the news about what is happening and share the information about the proposed legislation and its consequences for LGBT+ families in Russia.
  • We are urging the deputies of the State Duma to hear the civil society and conduct consultations with organizations working with homosexual, bisexual and transgender people.
  • We are asking all advocacy groups and all human rights defenders in Russia to make a statement against discrimination of homosexual, bisexual and transgender people. We really need your support.
  • We are inviting all LGBT+ organizations and advocacy groups to unite our efforts and collectively oppose the changes to the legislation.
  • We are calling upon all our foreign colleagues to make a strong statement about the unacceptability of discrimination of homosexual, bisexual and transgender people.
  • We will continue to gather and publish on our resources the information on what can be done.

The Russian LGBT Network offers free psychological help for LGBT+ people, their families and loved ones across the country. We are aware that many people need support at such a hard time. The Russian LGBT Network Hotline phone number is 8 800 555 73 74. The online chatroom for psychological help can be accessed at chat.lgbtnet.org
 

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