Vladimir Putin has signed a handful of anti-LGBTQ+ constitutional amendments into law which includes a ban on same-sex marriage.
The newly introduced amendments were passed in a national referendum last year and were supported by 77 per cent of Russians.
A key amendment ensured Putin’s grip on governmental power and protected the Russian president’s willingness to remain in charge. The amendment allows Putin to stay in power until 2036.
The 67-year-old Russian leader has served as president for more than 20 years which makes him the longest-serving leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.
Additional amendments included adhered to Russia’s strong religious beliefs.
A particular amendment was proposed by the Russian Orthodox Church, according to AP, and requested a reference to God to the Constitution.
The prominence of Christianity in Russia has allowed Putin to enact his anti-LGBTQ+ agenda.
A notable amendment which was passed in July 2020 pertained to LGBTQ+ rights in the country.
The amendment describes marriage as a “union of a man and a woman” which strengthens Putin’s already existing laws against same-sex marriages and relationships.
Russia has few LGBTQ+ rights legislation in place to protect the community. For example, in 2013, the country prohibited any LGBTQ+ “propaganda” in support of the community in an effort to undermine social progress and activists.
A 2020 study found that nearly one in five Russians advocated for “eliminating” the LGBTQ+ community from society, and nearly a third of Russians advocated for isolating the LGBTQ+ community from society.
Putin has introduced a harsher political climate around LGBTQ+ rights. In September 2020, Putin authorised teachers to search their student’s online social media presences to report any support of LGBTQ+ organisations or causes.
Last year Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President, described Russia’s growing anti-LGBTQ+ “malicious” and expressed concern for the country’s LGBTQ+ population.
“Russia is tripling down on its attacks on the basic human rights and dignity of LGBTQ people by adding constitutional prohibitions against marriage equality,” he said in a statement.
“Putin and his administration used propaganda brochures leading up to the election promising a return to ‘traditional family values,’ using marriage between loving couples as a wedge to push through his nefarious agenda. It is shameful, manipulative and malicious.”
Same-sex marriage is already illegal in Russia, but the introduction of new pressure and reaffirming rhetoric in the constitution will make it harder for LGBTQ+ activists and Russian LGBTQ+ citizens to feel safe in the country.