MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday stressed that marriage is solely a heterosexual union and supported the idea of enshrining the notion in the country’s updated constitution.
“A marriage is a union of a man and woman,” he said at a meeting with a Kremlin-appointed committee discussing new amendments to the Russian constitution.
“This is the right idea and it should be supported. We need to only think about how to formulate it and where,” he said after conservative lawmaker Olga Batalina said Russia’s constitution should uphold “traditional family values”.
She claimed the family is under attack from attempts to introduce new terms like “parent number one” and “parent number two”.
“This is not fantasy, this is reality in some countries,” said Batalina, a senior lawmaker in the majority United Russia party who has lobbied for Russia’s ban on foreign adoptions and a “gay propaganda” law which de-facto outlawed LGBT activism.
“As long as I’m president, we won’t have (parent number one and parent number two). We will have ‘dad’ and ‘mom’,” Putin said.
Putin in January announced that Russia needed changes to the constitution written in 1993 and appointed a committee of dozens of lawmakers and celebrities to come up with ideas.
At the televised meeting Thursday, members advised putting into the constitution phrases about Russia being a “peacemaking state” for humankind, and a country that was victorious in World War II, among a huge range of other offers.
One committee member Yelena Isinbayeva, who holds the world record in the pole vault, admitted she had never read the constitution prior to being tapped by Putin to join the group.
“Thank you for the opportunity, I have finally read the constitution, before there was no need. Now I understand it’s a very important book,” she said.
Speculation has swirled over why Putin wants an overhaul in the country’s balance of power, although the Russian leader, whose presidency expires in 2024, claimed the reforms are not intended to extend his own powers.
His latest stint in the Kremlin since 2012 has overseen a pivot to more conservative policies, with groups promoting fundamentalist Orthodox Christian views gaining more legitimacy and liberal viewpoints attacked as Moscow’s relations with the West soured.