The family fled Russia due to the likelihood of the children being taken away from them.
A same-sex family who had to flee Russia are seeking asylum in the United States. Andrey Vaganov and Evgeny Erofeev had adopted two children before marrying in Denmark.
After seeking hospital treatment for one of the children, Yuri, doctors discovered the children had no legal mother and a sexual abuse investigation followed. A family lawyer told the family to flee the country after authorities wanted to take Yuri to a state-owned rehabilitation centre despite no evidence of sexual abuse.
Speaking to the Russian news agency, TASS, a lawyer for the couple, Maxim Olenichev said: “An application from Andrey Vaganov and Evgeny Erofeev for political asylum has been submitted to US authorities. It has been accepted for consideration, but so far there has been no answer, it is still being processed.
“The family is living in the US, the children are enrolled in a school and are trying to adapt to their new conditions in order to start a normal life, because in Moscow it would have been quite difficult for them after what has happened.”
Maxim also noted how the children could still be taken away from the couple in Russia. “At the very least it will be questioned,” he said. “Most likely, in order to guarantee the children’s safety, they decided to leave after summer vacation in order to start a new life.”
Back in July, it was announced that Russia would be charging the adoption branch that gave the couple the children for negligence. The department claimed that the allowance of the couple to adopt the children “promoted abnormal relationships” and “endangers their [the children’s] health.”
Russia has some of the, if not the, worst LGBTQ rights in the developed world. In 2013, a ‘gay propaganda’ rule was signed into effect by Vladimir Putin, and it banned the promotion of “non-traditional” sexual orientations to minors.
Under the law, a Calvin Klein advert was banned, there were calls to ban the game FIFA 17, and the Warwick Rowers naked calendar was banned. The law has also banned a website that ran articles on LGBTQ-related health issues, including HIV/AIDS.
Police officers in the Sverdlovsk region of Russia also refused to protect LGBTQ citizens from hate speech. They claimed that online threats were “not addressed to any group of people on the grounds of ethnic, racial, religious, or social identity,” and so they did not violate any laws.
An intersex woman living in Russia also alleged that she was evicted from her home after being harassed by an officer. Olga Moskvitina claimed to have received death threats from a plains clothed officer, who also threatened to out her to other residents in her building.
Elsewhere, in self-governed Russian state Chechnya, gay people have been rounded up and held in modern-day concentration camps, with many of them tortured for information and some even beaten to death.