The nightmare continues for Russia's LGBT community: a member of parliament is proposing a law that would deny gay and lesbian parents custody of their own children, the Associated Press is reporting. "The draft bill, published on parliament's website on Thursday, would make the 'fact of nontraditional sexual orientation' a basis for denying custody. Other grounds include alcoholism, drug use, and abuse... "Alexei Zhuravlev, the author of the bill, referred to the earlier law and said that homosexual 'propaganda' had to be banned not only in the public space "but also in the family.'" According to a report from Russia Today, a state-owned media outlet, an explanatory note Zhuravlev submitted with the bill contains additional alarming information: "MP Aleksey Zhuravlev submitted the suggested amendments to the Family Code to the State Duma on Thursday. The explanatory note to the bill reads that non-traditional sexual orientation of one or both parents would become sufficient reason to deprive both of them of their parental rights. "'Following the letter of the law that forbids propaganda of non-traditional sex to minors we must restrict such propaganda not only in mass media but also the family,' Zhuravlev wrote. His reasoning is that 'if one of the child's parents indulges in sexual contact with persons of the same sex, the damage to the child's psyche is immense as a mother or father serves as an example for their offspring.' "The amendments should apply to those whose families have already collapsed because of the non-traditional contacts of one of the spouses and also to the families where non-traditional sex is openly practiced by one of the parents, the note reads. It adds that for cases when a wife simply suspects her husband of non-traditional sex, the court and the Investigative Committee (Russia's top law enforcement agency created for dealing with especially important and resonant cases), 'have specialists trained in everything.'" That's right: under Zhuravlev's bill, the federal Investigative Committee -- sometimes described as the "Russian FBI" -- would be empowered to investigate parents accused of homosexuality. In addition, in his explanatory note Zhuravlev (left) prominently cites the disgraced, right-wing-funded anti-LGBT "research" of Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas, whose widely-discredited New Family Structures Study claims to show that children of same-sex couples do worse than children raised by opposite-sex couples. Of the junk Regnerus study, Zhuravlev writes, "The results of this research have been carefully verified by independent experts and do not provoke any doubts." This is, of course, a bald-faced lie; the NFSS has been discredited and denounced by the mainstream academic and scientific communities. Nonetheless, the Regnerus study has played a significant role in the formation and justification of Russia's anti-gay domestic policy initiatives, including the now-infamous ban on "gay propaganda." While Russia Today claims that Zhuravlev's colleagues in parliament are "very skeptical" about his proposal, the Russian government has already demonstrated a willingness to expand its anti-gay persecution from the public square into the private lives of children and families: this summer, legislators passed and President Vladimir Putin signed a law barring foreign same-sex couples from adopting Russian children. The country reportedly has 600,000 children waiting to be adopted.
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