Russia | Same-sex family flee over threat to remove kids

It appears that same-sex families are facing imminent danger in Russia. A gay couple have been forced to leave the country after the authorities threatened to take away their adopted children.

According to Human Rights Watch, the Moscow couple were accused of “child abuse” simply because they are gay men.

The couple have been together for 11 years and got married in Denmark. They went on to adopt two children, now aged 12 and 14, nine and seven years ago.

Because same-sex parents cannot adopt children as a couple in Russia, the children were legally adopted by one of the men.

The family first came under scrutiny in June when the younger child went to the hospital for treatment of suspected appendicitis. There, the boy was questioned about his mother and told a doctor that had “two dads.”

The hospital then sent a letter to the authorities alleging child abuse because of the parents’ “non-traditional sexual orientation,” under Russia’s ‘gay propaganda’ law.

After investigators contacted the adoptive father to discuss the children’s family life, the couple fled the county with the children.

On 17 July, caseworkers involved in the children’s adoption were charged with “inadequate performance of duties” for being aware that the adoptive father “promoted non-traditional relationships.”

Two days later, police searched the couple’s apartment and that of relatives, presumably looking for the family.

“The couple’s lawyer Maxim Olenichev told Human Rights Watch that it’s not clear which charges, if any, the authorities were planning to bring against his clients,” wrote Joyce Kuaovi, Human Rights Watch Coordinator, Europe and Central Asia Division “But one thing is clear: the criminal charges against the social workers are meant as a warning to other officials that gay people should be viewed as unfit for parenthood.”

Kuaovi added that the couple’s story “is a particularly disturbing example of the state doing deep damage to children and families in the name of ‘child protection’ and ‘traditional values.'”

In 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a federal law prohibiting the promotion of “non-traditional” sexual relationships to minors. The so-called ‘gay propaganda’ law has been used to ban LGBTQ Pride events and demonstrations and to restrict the positive depiction of LGBTQ people in public, on television, in print and on the internet.

It now appears that the despicable law is also being used to justify tearing apart loving same-sex families.

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