Russia Decides to Hold onto God, Heterosexual Marriage, and Putin
Russia’s 2013 law against “gay propaganda” has been used to ban LGBT rallies.
Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, has submitted amendments to parliament that would enshrine God and heterosexual marriage in the constitution.
Mr Putin first floated the idea of constitutional amendments in January when he spoke about cutting presidential powers and bolstering the parliament and other state bodies in what observers saw as maneuvering ahead of 2024 when his fourth term expires.
While Mr Putin indicated that he is not going to break the law and stay in power beyond 2024, the amendments would give him enough leeway to stay in charge in another role such as chairman of the State Council or parliament.
The changes to the constitution breezed through parliament in late January but the president and the ad-hoc task force he had set up were able to submit other amendments until Monday.
Mr Putin’s latest suggestions include a clause to spell out that a marriage can only mean a union between a man and a woman as well as a mention that Russia “cherishes the memory of ancestors who have passed on their ideals and faith in God,” State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said late on Monday.
Russia’s current constitution makes no mention of God or of marriage as an institution.
Although the amendments are largely meant to help Mr Putin stay in power, the proposed changes have been seen as a concession to the president’s conservative support base.
LGBT rights in Russia have been under threat since Russia adopted a law in 2013 banning the so-called “gay propaganda” among minors. Rights groups have reported an uptick in violence against gay people due to a perceived impunity for such attacks.
Mr Putin last month vowed to support heterosexual marriage, telling the constitutional task force that Russia will have “mum and dad” as long as he is president.
The idea to mention God in the Constitution was originally introduced by a conservative lawmaker and later supported by the influential Russian Orthodox Church.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday dismissed suggestions that Mr Putin’s proposals run counter to the idea of Russia as a secular state, saying that the president and the constitutional task force will clarify their position to the public at a later date.
Constitutional reforms that could let Putin rule until 84 approved by Russian senators
The amendment will be put to public vote in April
Agence France-Presse 11 March 2020 • 2:09pm
Russian senators on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved amendments to the constitution submitted by President Vladimir Putin, including the option for him to run for two more terms in the Kremlin.
The constitutional reforms were backed by 160 senators in the upper house Federation Council, with one voting against and three abstaining.
They must now be approved by two-thirds of Russian regional parliaments before being put to a public vote on April 22.
In a speech ahead of the Federation Council’s vote, speaker Valentina Matviyenko called the passing of the amendments “one of the most important issues in (Russia’s) modern history”.
She hailed an amendment introduced on Tuesday that would give Mr Putin the chance to run again when his current term ends in 2024, by effectively resetting the clock on previous presidential terms.
Mr Putin “must have the right to participate in new competitive elections”, she said.
“He raised Russia from its knees” and “is considered one of the world’s great leaders,” she said.