Russia Bans Adoptions From Countries Where Same-Sex Marriage is Legal

February 14, 2014
Russia Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev | Kommersant/Dmitry Lebedev

Citizens of the countries that permit same-sex marriages are no longer able to adopt orphans from Russia. A decree to that effect was signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

The Russian government has changed the rules for the transfer of orphans for adoption, having introduced an additional ban on foreign adoptions by same-sex couples. The decree published today on the government website contains a paragraph, according to which children can be adopted by adult citizens of both sexes, except for “persons of the same sex in alliance recognized and registered as marriage in accordance with the laws of the State in which such marriage is allowed, as well as persons who are not married, but are citizens of such state.”

Thus, the prohibition applies not only to adoption by same-sex couples (a law to that effect was signed by President Vladimir Putin in July 2013), but also to all citizens of the countries that recognize such marriages. “Implementation of this decree will ensure more streamlined arrangements for transfer of children without parental care to families of citizens of the Russian Federation and foreign citizens and will protect the rights and interests of these children,” believes the government.

Russia has a ban on adoption of orphans by U.S. citizens, that came into force on January 1, 2013. In April 2013, Vladimir Putin urged to reconsider adoption agreement with France, where at that time they were trying to decide on the legalization of same-sex marriages. According to the data for 2011-2012, most Russian orphans left for the United States, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Ireland, Great Britain and Israel.

As of today same-sex marriages are recognized in Spain, France, and Great Britain. Russian children will not be able to go to Belgium (18 children adopted in 2011-2012), Denmark, Iceland, Canada (109 adoptees ), Netherlands, New Zealand (7), Norway, Portugal, Sweden (61 children) and a number of other countries. It hasn’t been decided yet whether Russian orphans could be adopted by citizens of Germany, where same-sex unions are registered, but adoption of children by same sex couples is prohibited. In Italy, the country that in 2012 took most orphans from Russia, same-sex marriages are not currently registered, but legalization of such unions is actively debated in the country.