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Duma gives final approval to same sex couples adoptions ban

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The Russian Lower House approved the bill that includes a ban on adoptions of Russian children by foreign same sex couples.

The bill on state help to orphans and children deprived of  parental support was passed by a unanimous vote with 444 MPs  voting for it. The document provides for a radical increase in  allowances to foster families and also allows state sponsorship  of medical help that Russian orphans receive abroad. Also the  adoption procedure has been simplified – court decisions allowing  adoptions will come into force in 10 days instead of the previous  30 days, and the law allows judges to overturn the rule that  adopted children and would-be adoptive parents must have at least  16 years age difference.

Those who wish to adopt a child will also have all obligatory  medical tests done for free and the expiration terms for their  documents will be prolonged.

The bill also includes the amendment that bans the adoption of  Russian children by same sex couples and also by unmarried  individuals from countries where same sex marriage is legal.

This amendment caused a heated discussion in the media and  society, especially as it arrived shortly after another  controversial initiative – the ban on propaganda towards minors  of non-traditional sex. Russia does not allow same sex marriage  and some MPs have voiced an initiative to detect de-facto same  sex couples and prevent them from raising children if they had  adopted any. This move, however, has not yet been formally  drafted as a legislative initiative.

The idea to ban same sex adoptions appeared in Russia as the  issue of legalizing same sex marriage was discussed in France  earlier this year. Eventually French legislators passed it,  despite some protests, and the first same sex wedding took place  in Montpellier in late May.

France is one of a few countries to have a bilateral agreement  with Russia on adoptions and last year it ranked fourth by the  number of adopted Russian children (after US, Italy and Spain).

In early June President Vladimir Putin told reporters that he  would support the ban on adoptions by foreign same sex couples if  parliament approves it.

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